Video clip courtesy of Media Matters.
The day after a white nationalist rally left one woman dead and several counter-protesters injured in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, a Fox News host defended rally attendees and compared their plight to that of Black Lives Matter supporters.
During Sunday’s episode of “Fox & Friends,” co-host Pete Hegseth backed President Donald Trump’s statements on the unrest, which leaders on both sides of the aisle condemned for their failure to call the deadly incident what it was: an act of domestic terrorism by white nationalists.
A group of demonstrators gathered Saturday, Aug. 12, to protest the white supremacist rally when a car barreled through the crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Nineteen others were injured and two police officers died in a freak helicopter accident while trying to monitor the chaos below.
Despite the violence, Hegseth said Trump “nailed it” in his response and lauded the president for denouncing “hatred and bigotry on all sides as opposed to immediately picking a side out the gate.”
He went on to suggest that the grievances expressed by attendees of the Charlottesville rally, which included KKK members, Neo-Nazis and self-avowed white supremacists, should receive the same sympathy and understanding given to Black Lives Matter. The social justice movement was founded in 2012 in response to the killings of unarmed Black men by police.
“You can call [violence] out, and then ― but still also listen, say, on Black Lives Matter, to the grievances of young African-American males in urban cores who feel like they’re looked at differently by police,” Hegseth said, adding that many young white men “feel like, ‘Hey, I’m treated differently in this country than I feel like I should have. I’ve become a second-class citizen. None of it … they tell me I have white privilege.’”
“That discussion still should be had,” he continued.
In the past, the Fox News Network has blasted the Black Lives Matter movement, painting it as an anti-police hate group and a “murder movement.” Commentators have also blamed the group for random violence carried out by Black folk, even when they had no affiliation with the movement.
In this instance, however, Hegseth moved to give the white nationalist protesters the benefit of the doubt.
“There’s a reason those people were out there,” he said of the rally attendees, who were heard shouting racial epithets and clashing with people in the streets. “Some of it is outright racism and needs to be condemned. A lot of it, though, is ‘I feel like my country is slipping away.’
“Just because I talk about nationalism ― not white nationalism ― doesn’t mean I’m talking in code that I’m a racist.”