The morning after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left one counter-protester dead, a Fox News host came to the rally attendees’ defense and compared them to the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality.
On Sunday’s episode of Fox & Friends, co-host Pete Hegseth defended President Donald Trump’s statements on the deadly rally, which many condemned for not singling out the white supremacists and instead laying blame for the violence on “many sides.”
Hegseth, however, said Sunday that Trump “nailed it” and applauded him for condemning “hatred and bigotry on all sides as opposed to immediately picking a side out the gate.”
He then suggested the grievances of those attending the Charlottesville rally ― which included activists from the so-called “alt-right,” Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and other white supremacists ― deserve the same sympathy and support offered to the Black Lives Matter movement, which was created to put a spotlight on police shootings of black Americans.
“You can call [violence] out, and then ― but still also listen, say, on Black Lives Matter, to the grievances of young African-American males in urban cores who feel like they are looked at differently by police. That discussion still should be had,” Hegseth said, arguing that many young white men “feel like, ‘Hey, I’m treated differently in this country than I feel like I should have. I’ve become a second-class citizen. None of it ― they tell me I have white privilege.’”
Fox News as a whole, it’s worth noting, has consistently painted the Black Lives Matter in broad strokes, going as far as describing it as a “murder” movement and “hate group” and blaming it for violence carried out by black individuals, even when they have no connection to the movement.
But Hegseth offered the self-identified neo-Nazis, white supremacists and nationalist protesters the benefit of the doubt.
“There’s a reason those people were out there,” Hegseth said of those a participating in Saturday’s rally filled with Nazi emblems and Confederate flags. “Some of it is outright racism and needs to be condemned. A lot of it, though, is I feel like my country is slipping away and just because I talk about nationalism ― not white nationalism ― doesn’t mean I’m talking in code that I’m a racist.”