Fox News strongly condemned Jeanine Pirro late Sunday evening after the network host suggested that Rep. Ilhan Omar may not fully support the United States Constitution because she is a Muslim.
“We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly,” a network rep said. The rep did not respond to requests to elaborate on how the matter was addressed or whether any disciplinary action will be taken.
Pirro also released her own statement in which she offered no apology, but did clarify her intentions.
“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. 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,” she said. “I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today.”
The duel statements capped more than 24 hours of growing outrage over a moment from Pirro’s Saturday evening Fox News program in which she laced into Omar over remarks the freshman Congresswoman has made attacking Israel and which many have derided as anti-semitic.
“This is not who your party is. Your party is not anti-Israel, she is. Think about this. She is not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party,” Pirro said Saturday. “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 is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution?”
The comment sparked a bipartisan cascade of outrage, with even Fox News personalities like contributor Guy Benson calling out Pirro. Hufsa Kamal, who works as producer for the network’s “Special Report With Bret Baier,” tweeted out her criticism and tagged the judge to make sure she would see it.
“@JudgeJeanine can you stop spreading this false narrative that somehow Muslims hate America or women who wear a hijab aren’t American enough? You have Muslims working at the same network you do, including myself,” she said.
Pirro is a longtime friend of President Trump and the billionaire is known to watch the show regularly.
Her remarks were one of two major headaches for the channel on Sunday. Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson was forced to explain years of past remarks he made in on-air appearances on an old Florida radio show, including one in which he called host Alexis Stewart “c–ty.”
In a statement, he too declined to apologize and also invited critics, including the left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters for America, to face him on-air.
“Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago.” Carlson said, though some of the resurfaced comments occurred as recently as 2011. “Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”