Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth apparently wasn’t paying attention during history classes during school. Either that or he has willfully ignored the lessons about his country’s atrocious history of ethnic genocide, slavery, and human rights abuses.
On a truly mind bending rant on Fox & Friends yesterday, Hegseth expressed outrage that NFL and MLB athletes were taking a knee during the national anthem in response to Donald Trump’s disgraceful comments singling out black athletes last week.
“Of course, this is all premised on the fact that everyone says Donald Trump is a racist,” Hegseth said of the athletes protesting in solidarity.
“So if you have a white supremacist in the White House, then you have free rein to do whatever you want, everyone should take a knee. This is a cultural battle right now.”
Hegseth, who was once considered by the incoming Trump administration to head the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, believes the president’s comments weren’t divisive at all and only those who protest police violence against African Americans are the ones disrespecting the country. Trump, it should be remembered, told his white audience in Alabama last week that if a (black) player kneels during the national anthem he is a “son of a bitch”.
In response to Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell, the first MLB player to kneel during the national anthem on Saturday night, Hegseth told the audience that the solidarity movement has “infected the NFL and the NBA, and and now we see it happen in Major League Baseball.”
“Look at those 12 teams immediately putting out a statement calling the president’s statement divisive!” Hegseth added before expressing perhaps the most idiotic statement ever seen on Fox News. “And you have to ask, what are we kneeling for at this point? Because you talk about social injustice. This is the least sexist, least racist, most free, most equal, most prosperous country in the history of humankind.”
If there were enough Native Americans left to respond to this incredible claim, Hegseth might learn a thing or two about the country his ancestors stole. He might learn that his nation was built on the genocide of indigenous peoples. And if he had paid attention during history, he would have learned that white European (most men) built America’s wealth on the backs of free African labor. That millions of black slaves were raped, brutalized and murdered for centuries in a nation they did not intend to come to. He might learn that black people did not have equal voting rights until the 1960’s. And if he switched on his television and watched news programs not distributed by Fox, he’d see teenagers and young men getting their heads blown off on a daily basis for walking down the street while being black. If Hegseth bothered to do any actual research devoid of extreme ideological bias, he would learn that sexism and racism is alive and well in America because it is a nation built on racial supremacy, male dominance and the exploitation of those with darker skin.
This is not to hate on America, but simply to tell the truth. To call it the “least sexist, least racist, most free, most equal, most prosperous country in the history of humankind,” isn’t just wrong, it is grotesquely wrong. To speak out about this isn’t an act of hatred towards one’s country — it is an act of love. America cannot heal its past wounds if it does not acknowledge them, and those taking a stand against police brutality and an overtly racist president are doing just that. Hegseth, a white male millionaire with a daily show on a viciously right wing news network, has next to no authority on the subject and would do well to think before speaking.
Then again, he is paid to do the exact opposite, so no surprises here.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.