Democratic congressman faces backlash for TV appearance with ‘bigotted’ right-wing host

Joanna Taylor
Friday 04 December 2020 14:42
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( TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Getty Images)

Democrat Ro Khanna has been criticised for “validating” Laura Ingraham by appearing on her Fox News show.

The California congressman discussed Joe Biden’s potential defence strategy with the controversial host before agreeing to return as a guest in future.

As well as discussing potential candidates for Biden’s defence secretary, Khanna told Ingraham that, while he was in favour of strikes in Afghanistan, he supported Trump in pulling troops out of the country during his presidency.

He also appeared to agree with her that the US’s defence strategy has allowed China to “get ahead” and that there are “a lot of issues where Republicans can work with progressives”.

Some people have taken issue with Khanna working with Ingraham, pointing out that he risks “validating” her past statements.

In 2018, for instance, Ingraham likened ICE border camps to “summer camps” that “resemble boarding schools” and has voiced ardent opposition to both legal and illegal immigration. In 2019, she falsely claimed that asylum seekers bring ebola to the US.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, she has supported Trump’s unfounded claims that hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment.

In response to a study that linked the drug to an increased risk of death she questioned whether it was “triggered by pure hatred of Trump? Of Fox? Of me?”

On top of this,  Ingraham has been accused of racism for telling basketball star LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” after he opened up about politics and of “cyberbullying” Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg. 

Khanna responded to the criticism, defending his attempt to build a “coalition” with conservatives on issues like defence.

Some people agreed with Khanna’s reasoning.

But others remained concerned. 

Khanna has tried to form a coalition with right-wing commentators before. 

Last year he was criticised for praising another Fox News host, Tucker Carlson, and appearing on his show. Like Ingraham, Carlson is anti-immigration and has been accused of racism. 

In general, these are not people Democrats should want to form a coalition with. 

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