Garbage Fox News Hosts Mocked the Child Who Made Mike Pence Apologize for Hitting Him

Yes, how dare he insist the Vice President adhere to prescribed social customs?

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Last week, we all saw the video of a young boy who was accidentally bumped on the face by Mike Pence during an event for military families. It wasn’t a particularly egregious moment. The “bop” to the face was clearly an accident—Pence was spreading his arm to welcome everyone—and the boy’s “stalking” of the VP was both cute and badass. He followed the VP around the room, pointing out that he was owed an apology. Those of us who are presumably more aware of his politics than this child can take delight in the idea of Pence being held accountable for something, but it’s pretty obvious that the boy has no interest in the goings-on of the administration; he just wants Pence to acknowledge the slight against him. And to his credit, when Pence finally realizes what happened, he immediately apologizes. And that was the end of the story.

Until a few days later, that is, when Fox News’ Tammy Bruce and Bill Hemmer started ranting about “snowflakes” and “safe spaces,” mocking the child for appearing “aggrieved” because Pence “I don’t know, maybe slightly touched his nose.” Hemmer speculated that the entire encounter was about politics and that the boy was coached to get the apology.

It’s just plain disgusting to target this military child, 10-year-old Michael, and ridicule him, rather than—if you have to ridicule someone, which I guess they do—the grown-ass man who bumped a child on the face in front of a crowd of people and then didn’t apologize. Is a “safe space” just one in which adults and world leaders follow the basic rules of human decency? If that’s the case, then yeah, all children should be able to exist in safe spaces.

I’m not sure why that concept is worthy of derision in the minds of those at Fox News, but at the very least, they’ve now been made to apologize and hopefully feel really, really terrible.

Michael’s mother, Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee, went on CNN to explain to Jake Tapper that her son is on the autism spectrum, has only been verbal for about five years, and “a lot of [his] therapy involves practicing social interactions.” To Michael, it was necessary to inform Pence that he was deviating from the prescribed steps in their interaction: accident, apology, acceptance. And, again, Pence was receptive to that. (I can’t believe I’m defending Mike Pence.) It’s tasteless enough for Bruce and Hemmer to mock any child for caring about preserving manners and polite social interactions; infinitely more so when it’s part of the child’s therapy and learning process.

And if you’re thinking anything along the lines of “but how could they have known the boy was on the autism spectrum?” THAT’S A GREAT POINT. They couldn’t have known. They didn’t know what Michael’s story was, but they had no problem publicly ridiculing him. So maybe a good general rule for everyone is don’t publicly ridicule children.

Herrera-Yee pleaded during her interview, “Please don’t use kids. Whether they’re typically developing kids—it doesn’t matter that he’s autistic or a military kid. Forget all that. He’s a kid. And you don’t use children as examples on national television like that.”

Tammy Bruce went back on the air this morning to issue an apology, saying, “as a gay woman and a feminist, I have spent most of my life working to improve the lives of women and children and those who are disenfranchised. I get it and I apologize.”

I don’t know if I believe she does “get it,” but at least she made her mouth say the words. That’s more than can be said for Hemmer who, oddly, didn’t feel the need to apologize for his part in the conversation. (Instead, he thanked the family for their service.) Maybe Tapper shouldn’t give up on this tweet quite yet.

(via Mediaite, image: screengrab)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.