It all started with Michael Needham from Heritage Action saying that President Obama is “lawless.” Liberal National Journal columnist Ron Fournier interrupted, saying “You’re calling him lawless?” as if Needham had hurled a racial epithet at the president. That set off a heated panel discussion on Fox News Sunday between Needham, Fournier, and Juan Williams, who ultimately concluded that the Republican Party has become “almost a completely white party.”
Williams said that Republicans and those on the right “have demonized” the president with talk about impeachment. He said, “Lots of people, especially in the minority communities, see it as an attack on the first black president. Think it’s unfair. And so it’s going to spur their turnout in the mid- terms, which is going to be critical in several races.”
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Williams to clarify his comments. “Do you think that the Republican opposition to this president … is racial, or do you think it is based on principles and policies?” Wallace asked.
“Well, all I can do is look at the numbers. If you look at the core constituency, the people who are in, let’s say Tea Party opposition, support of impeachment, there’s no diversity, it’s a white, older group of people. As to whether or not it’s racial, look, President Obama and others have said there are some people who don’t like him because of his race; some people who do like him. But I would say if you just break it down as a matter of political analysis and say who is this group, it reminds me that the Republican Party has become almost a completely white party,” Williams said.
Needham objected strongly to Williams’ charges. “Chris, if you were to open up your dictionary to the word irony, you would find Juan Williams in there claiming I’m demonizing people because I am saying the president of the United States is lawless, which by the way the Supreme Court agreed with.” Needham added, “You’re the one demonizing people who are concerned about the fact that we have a crisis of the Constitution, with Jonathan Turley, a liberal law professor, just testifying in the last couple of weeks … you are the one demonizing. You’re demonizing good people who are concerned about a president who’s weak and out of control.”
Williams shot back at Needham’s accusation that the president was lawless. “We had a principled argument about President Obama’s actions and use of executive actions and authority. But you call him lawless as if he’s an outlaw. As if, you know, you have him riding the range. We got to go get that guy.”
Williams then reached for the race card. “The people who want him impeached, they’re all white and they are all older and guess what, they are all in the far right wing of the Republican Party.”
“And he might as well have said they are all racist. That’s ridiculous,” Needham responded.
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