Fox News host Brian Kilmeade is one of the network’s many commentators who have been arguing against the ongoing Democratic effort to impeach President Donald Trump, on the grounds that it would only further anger Trump’s many supporters. But Kilmeade’s record shows that he has one set of standards for religious and racial minorities and anti-fascist demonstrators and another for actual fascist demonstrators.
Trump’s January 6 speech incited his supporters to storm the Capitol where they violently attempted to prevent the counting of Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden. Trump also reportedly watched the event on TV with excitement and resisted internal calls in the White House to send the National Guard to protect the Capitol. The insurgents also destroyed federal property and planted at least two pipe bombs near the Capitol.
But as the momentum to impeach Trump increases in the House, Kilmeade has been beating the drum about Biden’s responsibility to unite the country. On Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends, Kilmeade said that Biden’s hopes to unite the country would be undone by congressional Democrats’ renewed effort to impeach Trump and disqualify him from holding office again. Kilmeade made this argument by specifically citing the ongoing threats of further violence across the country on next week’s Inauguration Day.
“Do you know what the theme to Joe Biden’s inauguration is and maybe his first four years?” Kilmeade asked rhetorically. “America united. Do you know one thing that can guarantee that America won’t be united? Having an impeachment trial.” Kilmeade went on to say that Trump “ has 75 million supporters. So if you have an overarching sense that, ‘I’ve got to bring the country together’ -- because we see what's happening around this country, how 50 statehouses are being threatened on Inauguration Day — this is the last thing you want to do.”
Kilmeade had previously said on Monday that “this country is ready to explode again,” adding that Trump’s supporters are “more dug in than ever, and when you turn around and decide to impeach, you reignite that passion.”
But a look at Kilmeade’s record shows that he usually calls for anti-terrorism crackdowns for minority and left-wing groups and calls for dialogue and understanding for far-right groups engaging in terrorism.
Kilmeade has supported far-right militants and has castigated Democratic officials for condemning them
In October of last year, Kilmeade defended the armed militants who broke into the Oregon state Capitol in a violent demonstration against coronavirus-related economic restrictions and sprayed state police with “some kind of chemical agent” while participants chanted for the arrest of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. “You know what's different about these riots in Oregon as opposed to Seattle riots?” Kilmeade asked rhetorically. “They're not against America. [These people] want to work in America. They want to live the American Dream, and I would imagine they were living it until they were stopped by a pandemic from China.”
Kilmeade also commented in the wake of arrests of far-right militants who had allegedly planned to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), accusing her of not being “grateful” to the Department of Justice, but instead being “focused on the president” in her ongoing criticisms of Trump’s own rhetoric inflaming the situation in Michigan over the state’s anti-coronavirus measures. (In the days since the January 6 insurrection, Whitmer has commented on the progression from events in Michigan last year to the pro-Trump invasion of the Capitol last week.)
Kilmeade has also publicly endorsed the English Defence League, a nationalist hate group that violently targets British Muslims. In a 2013 interview with its then-leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka “Tommy Robinson,” Kilmeade said: “Well Tommy, we got your back, and we'll definitely look to keep in touch and I really think it's a very — it's great what you're doing.”
Kilmeade called for treating Black Lives Matter protesters and anti-fascists “as you would Al Qaeda”
During civil unrest in 2020 over police brutality against Black people, Kilmeade suggested that the protests may be an anarchist conspiracy to destroy America’s economy. “The big question is, are the goal of the anarchists and the protesters — the rioters — is it to make things better between races, to make America a more cohesive unit, a fairer country?” Kilmeade asked. “Or is it to destroy every single city so America economically can never get off its back, [which] the pandemic has put us on?”
In September, Kilmeade called for treating anti-fascist protesters like Islamist extremists: “Sit there, lock them up and interrogate them, almost like you would Al Qaeda, because they are undermining our country the same way this Islamic extremists were doing it. We were dead serious about that. We're not dead serious about this.”
Kilmeade has painted Muslims as terrorists and has dismissed the idea of “reaching out” to them
In May 2010, Kilmeade falsely accused the Obama administration of not taking terrorism seriously. Kilmeade also didn’t like the idea of cultural dialogue, even though the administration had significant anti-terrorism successes in part by working with Islamic countries: “So we're at war, but yet right now our approach is reaching out. ‘Learn more about us. We're not trying to fight you. We're not at war with Islam.’ Is that a different message than the reality?”
“Not every Muslim is an extremist, a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim. You can't avoid that fact,” Kilmeade also said in October 2010, before dismissing anyone who might invoke an infamous white terrorist from the American far right. “And that is ridiculous that we got to keep defining this — and the people that equate Timothy McVeigh with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, which is growing and a threat that exists.”
Kilmeade also asked whether in light of terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists, “Americans have a right to look at moderate Muslims and say, ‘Show me you're not one of them.’”
And in April 2019, Kilmeade was one of the right-wing media figures who took Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN) remarks regarding the discrimination faced by Muslim Americans after 9/11 out of context. “You have to wonder if she's an American first,” Kilmeade said, also putting the onus on Omar and other Muslims to oppose terrorism: “She should use this opportunity as a Muslim leader not to dismiss a Muslim attack — a Muslim extremist attack.”