Things got intense Thursday afternoon on MSNBC when daytime anchor Ali Velshi butted heads with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt over the Trump administration’s apparent rush to hostilities with Iran, openly shouting at the right-wing pundit at one point.
Discussing Hewitt’s recent Washington Post column in which the conservative MSNBC contributor defended Team Trump’s policy towards Iran while admonishing the Obama administration for its “appeasement,” Velshi got the ball rolling by ridiculing Hewitt’s high praise for National Security Adviser John Bolton.
“I think John Bolton is a war hawk,” Velshi noted, setting the tone early.
Hewitt went on to say that the reason the U.S. faces possible war with Iran is that it’s a “rogue nation” and a “theocracy” run by a “dictator,” prompting Velshi to shoot back that we could say the same about Saudi Arabia, an American ally in the same region.
“The Saudis are bombing the Yemenis,” the MSNBC host added. “The Saudis have forces—they had them in Syria, they had them in Iraq. What’s changed?”
Hewitt replied that Velshi cannot say they’ve acted like the Iranian regime, claiming Iran “exports chaos” and that “they’re a terrorist organization,” causing Velshi to blow up at the conservative talking head.
“Hugh Hewitt! Hugh!” Velshi yelled. “Just stop, Hugh! For heaven’s sake!”
With co-host Stephanie Ruhle wearing a look of shock on her face, Velshi declared that the Saudis also export terror and have expansionist tendencies, accusing Hewitt of “inventing this situation” that Iran is more of an imminent danger.
Hewitt, meanwhile, repeated his claim that Iran is intent on destroying the Middle East while Saudi Arabia doesn’t have the ability to do so.
The two would argue and debate over the situation for a few more minutes, with Velshi emphasizing the close relationship between the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia.