A Fox News panel flew off the rails on Thursday when Federalist senior editor and Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway falsely accused liberal pundit Marie Harf of comparing George Washington to late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during a discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement.
During the noon broadcast of female-centric opinion show Outnumbered, Fox contributor Harf weighed in on the recent targeting of the monuments depicting Confederate leaders and historic figures who owned slaves.
“I do think a process to re-evaluate the monuments is the best way to tackle this issue,” she said. “I lived in Charlottesville and they for years have gone through a process to talk about their Confederate statues and we, unfortunately, saw some of the fights that became physical over there.”
Harf then suggested the taking down of Confederate monuments was akin to Iraqis pulling down Hussein statues after he was deposed.
“One of the first things the United States military did when we invaded Iraq was, along with Iraqis, tear down statues of Saddam Hussein,” she said. “Because while they were only symbols, they were symbols of oppression. They were symbols of a leader who had killed so many of his own people and tortured them. So symbols do matter.”
The longtime Democratic operative went on to say there needs to be a “process to look at Confederate generals and leaders” before adding that protesters who tear down statues of Ulysses S. Grant “are stupid and are not a part of the broader conversation.”
Later in the program, during a segment on the ongoing protests, Black conservative pundit Lawrence B. Jones explained that the Black Lives Matter movement has no real hierarchy despite some people claiming to be the head of it. The show’s host Melissa Francis admitted to being confused by that and dismissed the fact that BLM is a movement with no real organizational structure.
“If people get killed and things get burned down and it’s not an organization, then nobody gets held responsible,” she said, teeing up Hemingway. “That’s pretty convenient.”
Hemingway, meanwhile, said she wanted to “applaud” a BLM activist for “being honest” when he told Fox News on Wednesday that they will “burn down the system” if they don’t see the change they want.
She then proceeded to refer back to Harf’s statue comparison, openly twisting it to launch a bad-faith attack on her colleague.
“He made a comparison, as Marie Harf did earlier in the show, that sometimes you need to do violent revolution to overthrow things you don’t like,” she declared. “You know, comparing George Washington to Saddam Hussein and therefore it’s OK to tear down both of their statues.”
Harf immediately objected, noting that she did not “compare George Washington to Saddam Hussein” and that it was “ridiculous” for Hemingway to accuse her of that. Francis, meanwhile, jumped in to tell Harf to let Hemingway finish her thought.
The pro-Trump Federalist columnist went on to say the “claim is that it’s OK to tear down statues, that include George Washington and Lincoln and abolitionists, because it’s just like what we did when we did a regime change in Iraq and helped people tear down statues of Saddam Hussein.”
After Hemingway finished her diatribe, Harf attempted to address her right-wing colleague’s smear.
“I compared Confederate generals to Saddam Hussein,” Harf exclaimed. “And for you to say I compared George Washington to Saddam Hussein is disgraceful, Mollie. I’m sorry, it is completely unacceptable and inappropriate!”
“Thank you for the clarification,” Hemingway snarked in response with a smirk.