On The Radio Factor, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter opined that New York firefighters are "Americans" not New Yorkers and that citing them as an example of New Yorkers helping out victims of Hurricane Katrina is like "citing the Christian Club at Harvard." In making the claim, Coulter was defending claims she made earlier on the show to guest host Al Rantel that "I'm waiting to see if New Yorkers will run to support the suffering victims of Katrina," and that she had doubts because "New Yorkers don't consider themselves a part of the rest of America." A caller challenged her remarks as "just flat-out hateful, divisive, and contribut[ing] to the politicizing of a tragedy," adding that New York firefighters had begun sending supplies and personnel to the Gulf Coast, to "reciprocate the outpouring of support they received and aid that they received after 9-11." Coulter responded, "I mean, to be citing firemen who are from New York, no, they are Americans," and then said, "New York firemen are a completely different breed. I mean, that's like citing the Christian Club at Harvard."
From the August 31 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
RANTEL: I was telling the audience this morning, you know I don't like to compare anything to September the 11th because it was a unique thing, but I have to tell that, as I am watching the video, the television coverage of the suffering that's going on in Biloxi and Mobile and Gulfport [Mississippi], all of our great Gulf Coast cities, emotionally, I think I feel about the same way, it's frightening and it's horrible to watch this. What's your feeling about it?
COULTER: Yes. No, I know, I thought the exact same thing. And in the same way the rest of the country ran to support New York, I'm waiting to see if New Yorkers will run to support the suffering victims of Katrina.
RANTEL: Do you have doubts?
COULTER: New Yorkers don't really consider themselves a part of the rest of America.
RANTEL: [laughs] Well, I hope that's not true. We've got --
COULTER: You've heard of Manhattan?
RANTEL: I have. I have. I've been there many times. You have some doubts as to whether there'll be an outpour -- I mean do you think this is political, because these are red states?
COULTER: No. I just think New Yorkers think of themselves as their own country.
RANTEL: Let's take a call here. [Caller] is in St. Louis, Missouri. [Caller], welcome to The Radio Factor. How are you?
CALLER: I'm fine, thank you for taking my call.
RANTEL: You're welcome.
CALLER: I wanted to make a comment on Ann's comment that I think is just flat-out hateful, divisive, and contributes to the politicizing of a tragedy -- when she remarked about being surprised that New York would come to the aid of the victims of Katrina. I just watched this morning, on Fox News, they were covering the aftermath of the storm and the response to it. And they did a segment highlighting New York firefighters loading trucks preparing to send not only supplies but personnel to the affected area. And they commented that the reason they were doing it was to reciprocate the outpouring of support they received and aid that they received after 9-11. I think that it adds to the divisiveness; it adds to the extremism for her to make a remark like that --
RANTEL: All right.
CALLER: -- that's completely unfounded.
COULTER: Of course, New York firefighters, they're Americans.
CALLER: It was New York firefighters responding and your comment --
COULTER: Right, and I just said -- Of course they did. Of course they did. Surprisingly enough, eight million people are not monolithic.
RANTEL: Right, so in other words, Ann, what are you saying? You're not surprised that firefighters would help, that others would help, but you want to see --
COULTER: Yes, of course. New York firemen are a completely different breed. I mean, that's like citing the Christian Club at Harvard.
RANTEL: Right, so you want the liberals on the Upper West Side to do what?
COULTER: To respond the way people in Louisiana did when New York came under attack. I mean, there is the feeling that this isn't something that just happened to New Yorkers, and oh, well this is because you guys elected [Sen.] Hillary [Rodham] Clinton [D-NY], and that is what we're getting from liberals on the hurricane. It's because of their primitive religion. It's because of a memo [Mississippi Gov.] Haley Barbour wrote. It's the wrath of God. This isn't seen as something that has happened to their fellow Americans --
RANTEL: Let's go down south --
COULTER: -- Yeah, I mean to be citing firemen who are from New York, no, they are Americans.