Things got really awkward really fast on the set of Fox & Friends Thursday morning when co-host Brian Kilmeade seemed to brush off concerns his colleague Ainsley Earhardt expressed over her sick mother catching COVID-19 amid the relaxing of social-distancing guidelines.
Discussing states reopening businesses and public spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic, Kilmeade—who has been a vocal advocate for reversing stay-at-home orders to jumpstart the economy—grumbled about California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to close beaches after seeing images of overcrowded beaches in recent days.
Earhardt, meanwhile, empathized with the position Newsom was in, pointing out that by opening the beaches and leaving it up to residents to make their own personal decisions, “they started seeing more people go to the hospitals after that weekend with corona.”
“The governors have to make tough decisions because they don’t want a relapse in all this, that wouldn’t make them look good,” she added. “Their residents would be dying!”
The Friends co-host then expressed concerns about her ailing mother and how the flouting of physical-distancing guidelines could be devastating to her.
“My mom is very sick,” she declared, in the exchange first spotlighted by Media Matters. “And as much as I want to go out, I still want everyone to play by the rules, because when I finally do get to go home to visit her.”
Kilmeade interjected, bluntly asking Earhardt, “But is your mom going to the beach? But is your mom going to the beach?!”
“No. But Brian, eventually she will be around family again,” a visibly annoyed Earhardt retorted. “I understand both sides. I really do.”
“I just don’t want a resurgence of this,” she concluded. “I just don’t want us to go through all of this. It’s been hard for everyone at different levels.”
Co-host Steve Doocy, obviously in an effort to defuse a potentially tense on-air confrontation, jumped in to give a both-sides observation about the need to “flatten the curve” and how governors have to monitor local situations.