ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said Tuesday on “The O’Reilly Factor” that he was appalled and offended by Morehouse professor Marc Lamont Hill’s recent statements calling Black celebs who met with President-elect Donald Trump “mediocre Negroes.”
During the Jan. 17 broadcast of the Fox News show, Smith attributed the vitriol and backlash aimed at comedian Steve Harvey, Martin Luther King III and others who’ve met with Trump in the past two months to the tone of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, which coincided with the resurgence of white nationalism.
“Just some of the rhetoric [Trump] was spewing, the discomfort it ultimately provoked,” Smith explains. “And you’re saying, let’s not forget about that. It is one thing to meet with him. It is another thing to depart from that meeting swearing suddenly that you love the man when clearly that was not the case when he was running.”
O’Reilly did not agree. He said that a hallmark of our republic is having differing opinions about individuals without being scrutinized for it.
“So if Jim Brown, I’m sure you respect, comes out and says, ‘I love Donald Trump,’ why should we run him down for that opinion?” O’Reilly says. “You may not like Donald Trump, and that’s fine. I don’t have a problem with that. But if someone does say they like him, why call them a ‘mediocre Negro’? That’s just vicious.”
The staunch conservative commentator and Trump supporter added that people should not be demonized for their opinions about Trump and Smith agreed. The “First Take” co-host implied that the Black community does not want Black celebs or public figures to speak with or agree with the GOP on any issue whatsoever.
Smith said the Black community views any person speaking with the president-elect a “sell-out” or a “coon.” Regarding Hill’s comments earlier this week, Smith said he totally disagreed with what Hill said, even while acknowledging that Hill is a highly accomplished individual. O’Reilly claimed that Fox News “made” Hill and that he would have never made comments like that on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
“I disagree with how he termed things. He was very insulting and disrespectful to individuals from our community that happen to meet with the president,” Smith says. “More importantly, I don’t think that any of us who meet with the president, the president-elect soon to be president, should be castigated for meeting with the man and talking about things to improve our community.”