Geraldo Rivera Rips Pete Hegseth’s Defense of ‘Unforgivable’ Trump Tweets: ‘What the Hell?’

The Puerto Rican Fox News correspondent says he has had “10 street fights” because he’s been told to “go back to where you came from”

Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera butted heads with “Fox & Friends” host Pete Hegseth Friday for defending President Trump’s “unforgivable” tweets directed at four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Sunday, Trump tweeted that Democratic representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib — known as “The Squad” — should “go back” to the countries of their ethnic origins. During a rally in North Carolina Wednesday, a fired-up crowd chanted “send her back” for 12 seconds when Trump mentioned Rep. Omar.

“I was appalled. I think that it was un-American. It was an attack that was a nativist, xenophobic, racist attack,” Rivera told Hegseth. “‘Go back to where you came from’ is the old racist trope that all of us ethnic or racial minorities have grown up with at various times. It is unforgivable at this day and age.”

Hegseth pushed back, saying, “You, like many, have accused [Trump] of racism, but if you go back and look at that tweet, he’s not talking about race. He’s talking about whether or not you love this country and appreciate it and if you don’t appreciate it and don’t love it and don’t want to work to make it better, then maybe you could consider going somewhere else.”

“What the hell? Come on, Pete!” Rivera fired back.

Rivera and Hegseth’s exchange became heated, with Rivera asking what would happen if someone told Hegseth that if he didn’t like America, he could leave. Hegseth responded he wouldn’t mind.

“You can’t say it to me!” Rivera said. “I’ve got 10 street fights based on that, someone saying to me because I’m Puerto Rican, ‘Go back to where you came from.”

Rivera isn’t the only Fox talent pushing back on the President’s tweets. Host Steve Hilton tweeted, “this totally undermines legitimate arguments on patriotism, secure borders, immigration control.” Anchor Shep Smith, too, called it a “misleading and xenophobic eruption” during his broadcast Monday.

Watch Rivera and Hegseth debate below: