House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) on Sunday accused Fox News host Pete Hegseth of failing to report that white supremacists had attempted to incite violence during Black Lives Matter protests in Portland, Oregon and other places.
“As you know, over the last couple of months, we’ve seen riots in Portland,” Hegseth told Clyburn during an interview on Fox & Friends. “Tweety McTreason made it clear, we’re going to send federal agents, law enforcement officers there to protect federal property as necessary.”
The Fox News host went on to accuse Clyburn of comparing federal agents to “the Gestapo.”
“Why would you make such a comparison when what they’re doing is their job to protect federal property?” Hegseth asked.
“I don’t know if I ever compared what they’re doing to the Gestapo,” Clyburn objected.
“It’s right there in the transcript,” Hegseth said, referring to a CNN interview in which Clyburn said Trump is trying to “impose Gestapo activities in local communities.”
“Maybe I did,” Clyburn replied. “I am never one to think I can never misspeak. That is not to say what I feel. But what I do feel, what I’ve seen in Portland, reminds me very much of what I saw in Anniston, Alabama back in the ’60s, what I saw on the Edmund Pettus Bridge back in the ’60s, where state-sponsored and supported terrorism was visited upon people who were protesting peacefully.”
Hegseth seemed outraged by the comparison.
“They’re burning Bibles in Portland instead of holding them on the bridge like the peaceful protesters did in the 1960s,” the Fox News host remarked.
“I don’t know anything about burning Bibles,” Clyburn said. “Burning a Bible doesn’t do anything about burning down a federal building. Maybe you all have seen something I don’t know. What federal building has been under threat?”
“With all due respect, Congressman, you may be watching other networks,” Hegseth charged. “It’s been fireworks, Molotov cocktails, explosions, attacks at officers night after night after night.”
“I do defend [the officers] as well,” Clyburn insisted. “But I don’t defend pretenders. We saw in Minneapolis a guy in black knocking out windows. When they arrested him, they found out he’s a white supremacist disguising himself. And that’s what’s going on all over.”
“Look, I was in these movies back in the ’60s,” he continued. “I walked right alongside John Lewis and everybody else. And I can tell you, we never rioted. But there was rioting going on. Burn, baby, burn was not us. Somebody else, insurgents came in. Pretenders came in, in order to subvert the movement.”
Clyburn added: “And that’s what’s going on here. Black Lives Matter will not ever, the people connected to that will not burn down any buildings. But the people who are trying to incite stuff, the pretenders — not protesters, but pretenders — will do anything.”
The South Carolina Democrat concluded by admonishing the Fox News host.
“You saw that on the camera yourselves and you should have reported it,” he said. “Other places did.”