Things got extremely awkward on Fox News panel show Outnumbered on Wednesday after former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tied billionaire financier George Soros—often the focus of anti-Semitic tropes—to violence in cities, prompting the show’s co-hosts to directly confront him on why he was invoking the liberal philanthropist.
Towards the end of a discussion on the property damage that’s been caused by violent protests over police brutality, Gingrich—who is now a Fox News contributor—insisted that the real issue was with local elected leaders.
“The number one problem in almost all the cities is George Soros-elected, left-wing, anti-police, pro-criminal district attorneys who refuse to keep people locked up.” he blustered.
“Both [Kamala] Harris and [Joe] Biden have talked very proudly about what they call progressive district attorneys,” Gingrich continued. “Progressive district attorneys are anti-police, pro-criminal, and overwhelmingly elected with George Soros’ money. They are a major cause of the violence we are seeing because they keep putting the violent criminals back on the street.”
Fox News host Melissa Francis, meanwhile, immediately pushed back on Gingrich repeatedly dog-whistling about the longtime conservative boogeyman.
“I’m not sure we need to bring George Soros into this,” she declared.
“He paid for it!” Gingrich shot back, literally shrugging off Francis’ remarks.
Liberal Fox News pundit Marie Harf then cut off Gingrich, disagreeing with the ex-speaker’s claims before saying she agreed with Francis that “George Soros doesn’t need to be part of this conversation.”
“Okay, so it’s verboten?” Gingrich wondered aloud.
And then a long awkward silence ensued.
After staring silently into the camera for a few excruciating seconds, anchor Harris Faulkner eventually cut the tension and ended the segment.
“OK, we’re going to move on,” she said.
Fox has had issues over the years with a number of its guests and hosts peddling anti-Semitic tropes about the billionaire investor. The network banned Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell in late 2018 after he baselessly claimed on Lou Dobbs’ program that migrant caravans were funded by the “Soros-occupied State Department.” (Dobbs himself has a lengthy history of trafficking in Soros-related conspiracies.) Fox News also apologized after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) falsely accused Soros of collaborating with the Nazis during World War II.
The network came under fire last year when frequent Fox guest and Trump ally Joe diGenova accused Soros of controlling “very large parts” of the State Department during an appearance on Dobbs’ show, echoing Farrell’s remarks. Several Jewish organizations demanded the network ban diGenova and issue a public apology.