MSNBC contributor Hugh Hewitt apologized following backlash over a comment he made on his radio show Tuesday in which he joked that Vice President Joe Biden had “transgendered” into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
The host of Salem Radio Network’s “The Hugh Hewitt Show” offered backhanded praise for the freshman congresswoman, claiming she’s “unmoved by her inexperience” and “confident in her lack of knowledge.”
“I would love to talk to her,” Hewitt said, as first reported by media watchdog group Media Matters. “Just a long, extended conversation where the word salad doesn’t hold up. It wilts in the heat. Not hardball, just keep talking. She’s just wonderful. She’s my favorite person in America.”
He continued, “Joe Biden has actually gone through the time machine and transgendered into Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This was Joe Biden ― she’s going to fill the Biden gap. The Biden gap concerned me. Someday Joe will leave the public stage and we will not have people who will say outlandish things. But now the Biden gap is filled.”
Hewitt’s comments sparked outrage on Twitter and were picked up by several media outlets. He apologized for his “bad word choice” in a tweet Tuesday.
“Apologies,” Hewitt tweeted. “Bad word choice on a sensitive subject.”
“Transgendered” is widely perceived as an offensive term within the LGBTQ community. Hewitt did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The conservative commentator previously hosted a 30-minute TV show every Saturday on MSNBC called “Hugh Hewitt.” The program, which began in June 2017, was canceled after just one year. The network kept him on as a contributor.
Before MSNBC canceled his show, it gave Hewitt a verbal warning for failing to disclose a meeting he had with the then-administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt. Pruitt fast-tracked the cleanup of a Superfund site in Orange County, California, after Hewitt brokered a meeting between the former EPA head and a law firm that both represented the polluted district and employed Hewitt.
Hewitt repeatedly used his media platforms to defend Pruitt against alleged conflicts of interest during his tenure in the Trump administration ― all without disclosing the connection between himself and Pruitt.
Weeks before his MSNBC show was canceled, Hewitt defended anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom in its fight with Amazon. He did not disclose that ADF was a major sponsor of his radio show at the time.
MSNBC declined to comment for this story. Salem Radio Network did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
This article has been updated to include Hewitt’s tweet.