A Fox News segment discussing President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policy flew off the rails Sunday when a Democratic consultant became enraged after White House adviser David Bossie told him he was “out of his cotton-picking mind.”
Host Ed Henry quickly had to reel things in during the mid-morning segment, which started with Democratic communications expert Joel Payne, who is African-American, criticizing the Trump administration’s racist policies separating migrant families at the border. Bossie didn’t take too kindly to the rebuke, however, and griped about former CIA Director Michael Hayden likening youth detention centers to Nazi concentration camps.
“Michael Hayden posted a picture of Auschwitz,” Bossie said.
“Yeah, that liberal Michael Hayden,” Payne replied sarcastically, referencing the fact that Hayden is a known conservative. “That screaming liberal.”
“You’re out of your cotton-picking mind!” Bossie exclaimed, drawing a fiery response from Payne.
“Cotton-picking mind?” Payne said. “Brother, let me tell you something. Let me tell you something, I got some relatives who picked cotton, okay?”
Henry frantically tried to take control as the two guests exchanged words with one another. He insisted Bossie meant to say Payne was simply “out of his mind” before ending the segment altogether. Henry apologized to viewers for Bossie’s comments following a commercial break.
“I just want to address what happened in that debate. It obviously got fiery, David Bossie used a phrase that clearly offended Joel Payne and offended many others — I don’t know what David meant by it,” the host offered. ” … I will let him address exactly what he said. But I want to make sure that Fox News and this show, myself, we do not agree with that particular phrase.”
“It was obviously offensive and these debates get fiery, that’s unfortunate. We like to have honest and spirited debates, but not phrases like that, obviously. And so I will just leave it at that,” Henry continued.
Bossie has since apologized for his outburst, but that hasn’t stopped the backlash.
Later that day, Black democratic strategist Don Calloway railed against the White House adviser for using such a racist expression and slammed Fox News for fostering what he called a “culture of pure racism.”
“Forgive me because I’m not comporting myself as professionally as I would like to right now, but this is so far beyond the pale of anything that we should find acceptable in the American discourse today,” Calloway said in a Sunday interview with MSNBC’s Richard Lui. “I just — there’s no excuse, there’s just no excuse for Fox News. There’s no excuse for these milquetoast Republicans, along the rank and file of elected office who lead people in this country, not completely repudiating this nonsense.”
“Yes, my people picked cotton and I’m very proud of it because me and my son don’t have to because they did,” he continued. “Shame on Bossie and shame on President Trump! I’m sorry, Richard, I’ve got nothing, man– it’s unbelievable.”
Watch more in the clip above.