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Even Fox News Won’t Stand by Jeanine Pirro’s Overtly Anti-Muslim Rant

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Over the weekend, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said some seriously gross and misguided things about Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. In a bizarre monologue, Pirro takes on Omar’s recent statements condemning pro-Israel lobbying groups in Washington D.C. and those groups’ apparent immunity to criticism.

After criticizing Omar for not being grateful enough to the country that “saved” her from her refugee status–because apparently gratitude only comes in the form of blind agreement all of the time and not, you know, entering a life of public service–Pirro says that Nancy Pelosi has “appeased rising anti-Semitism inside the Democrat party” by not condemning Omar’s statements forcefully enough.

“This is not who your party is,” Pirro tells an imaginary Pelosi. “Your party is not anti-Israel, she is.”

Omar and her supporters have maintained that she was not criticizing Israel, only “the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics.” Whether intentional or not, Omar did infuse that criticism with some antisemitic tropes that genuinely offended a lot of people. (And performatively offended others, like Meghan McCain.)

And then Jeanine Pirro comes along and says the quiet part loud again, implying that Omar, who is one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress, cannot possibly represent the United States because of her Muslim faith, as proven, in Pirro’s eyes, by Omar’s choice to wear a hijab.

“Think about this, Pirro said. “She’s not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat party. So if it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from? Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to sharia law which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

So Pirro responded to perceived antisemitism with overt Islamophobia. Weird flex.

Pirro received a lot of criticism for her monologue, including from one of her Fox News colleagues.

In a rare move, Fox News actually spoke out against the horrible things one of their hosts said. “We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar,” a Fox news rep said in a statement. “They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”

We reached out to ask what that conversation entailed and if there were any consequences beyond a stern talking-to, or if there were consequences planned in the likely event that Pirro makes similarly bigoted statements in the future, but received no answers to those questions.

As for Pirro, she’s insisting her words were misunderstood. “I’ve seen a lot of comments about my opening statement from Saturday night’s show and I did not call Rep. Omar un-American,” her statement reads. “My intention was to ask a question and start a debate, but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution. I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”

I’m pretty sure the Congresswoman has better things to do than debate a Fox news host over her specific level of disingenuousness, but she did thank Fox for their condemnation.

(image: screencap)

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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.

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