David Bossie, a former deputy campaign manager for President Donald Trump, used a racist phrase to attack a black panelist on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday.
Bossie, president of the conservative advocacy group Citizens United, ripped into Democratic strategist Joel Payne during a heated discussion about liberals’ reactions to the Trump administration’s contentious immigration policies.
“You don’t have to be a golden retriever to hear all the dog whistles coming out of the White House these days,” Payne said, accusing Trump of using racist rhetoric to rally his base around immigration.
“You’re out of your cotton-picking mind,” Bossie told Payne.
“Cotton-picking mind?” Payne responded. “Brother, let me tell you something: I got some relatives who picked cotton and I’m not going to sit here and allow you to attack me like that on TV. I’m not out of my cotton-picking mind.”
Fox News host Ed Henry apologized later in the show for Bossie’s comments.
“David Bossie used a phrase that clearly offended Joel Payne and offended many others,” Henry said. “I don’t know what David meant by it.”
“I want to make sure that Fox News and this show, myself ― we don’t agree with that particular phrase,” he continued. “It was obviously offensive, and these debates get fiery ― that’s unfortunate. We like to have honest and spirited debates, but not phrases like that, obviously. And so I will just leave it at that.”
Hours later, Bossie apologized on Twitter, saying he should have chosen his words “more carefully.”
In a statement Sunday, Fox News called Bossie’s comments “deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate.”
Payne did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
This story has been updated with Bossie’s apology and a Fox News statement.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the Bossie-Payne exchange occurred on “Fox News Sunday.” It occurred on “Fox & Friends.”