Controversial Fox News host Laura Ingraham is once again the target of criticism, this time over comments she made about the country’s changing demographic landscape, which she blamed on illegal — and legal — immigration.
“Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like,” Ingraham said on The Ingraham Angle on Wednesday night, noting that “it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.”
“From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically, in some ways, the country has changed,” Ingraham continued. “Now, much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases legal, immigration that, of course, progressives love.”
Despite studies showing the crime rate among native-born residents is higher than that of immigrants, Ingraham used her monologue to link undocumented immigrants with a series of individuals who committed violent acts. She highlighted the case of Juan Ramon Vasquez, an undocumented immigrant from Honduras who sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl after his 2014 release from a Philadelphia jail. Federal prosecutors secured a guilty plea from Vasquez on immigration offenses Tuesday.
Ingraham also called Mayor Kenney “a disgrace” for his support of Philadelphia’s status as a “sanctuary city,” showing a video clip of Kenney celebrating a court ruling in June that the Trump administration could not cut off grants to the city over how undocumented immigrants are handled.
“There is something slipping away in this country and it’s not about race or ethnicity,” said Ingraham, whose family includes two adopted sons from Russia and an adopted daughter from Guatemala. “This is a national emergency and [President Trump] must demand that Congress act now.”
Ingraham’s comments were widely condemned across the political divide. Rep. Ted Lieu (D., Calif.) called her comments “racist” and said Ingraham is “no more American than I or others are.” Matt Pearce, a national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, wrote on Twitter that Ingraham’s comments were the “swan song of white nationalism.” CNN senior editor Alex Koppelman wrote: “Fox’s prime time lineup used to put a thin veil over the racism, but they’ve stopped pretending lately.”
ESPN’s Jemele Hill, who previously criticized Ingraham after the Fox News host told NBA superstar LeBron James to “shut up and dribble,” wrote that her comments were “just disgusting” and “flat-out racist.”
Even for this particular person ... this is just disgusting. That this is masquerading as some kind of journalism is a joke. Flat-out racist. https://t.co/ojIkOxqqPi
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 9, 2018
Even some conservatives weren’t supportive of Ingraham’s comments. Chris Vance, who was the former chair of the Washington State Republican Party but left the party in 2017, said Ingraham’s rhetoric was “full on unadulterated racism.” S.E. Cupp, a conservative political commentator whose nightly HLN show will move to CNN starting Aug. 25, said Ingraham was deliberately stoking the fears of Trump supporters “who believe their problems are the fault of people who don’t look like them.“
Even Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump’s former White House communications director, blasted Ingraham’s comments as “ignorant” and “un-American.”
“It’s the same level of xenophobia that my immigrant grandparents faced as Italian-Americans 70, 80 short years ago,” Scaramucci said on CNN Thursday afternoon. “I hope she realizes that what she said is just not—it’s against the American values that she’s supposedly touting.”
Ingraham’s monologue was also endorsed by white supremacist David Duke, who praised the segment as “one of the most important (truthful) monologues in the history of MSM” on Twitter. Duke has since deleted his tweet.
Ingraham addressed the criticism of her comments on her Fox News show Thursday night, telling white nationalists like Duke they are “antithetical to the beliefs I hold dear” and reaffirming that her monologue had noting to do with race or ethnicity.
“Furthermore, as I have said repeatedly on this show, merit based immigration does wonders for our country’s economy, our way of life and how we define our country – I even said that in my opening thoughts last night,” Ingraham said. “I want to make it really clear that my concern will continue to remain with the families who have suffered the tragic results of illegal immigration, the children put in dangerous and unfair situations at the border, and all those border agents around the country who work to keep our country safe.”
Ingraham’s comments about immigration echo statements made by her Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson, whose opinions have mirrored the hard-line approach favored by Trump. In January, Carlson questioned whether diversity was good for the country. And in March, Carlson railed against demographic changes happening in the United States.
In a monologue delivered in June, Carlson defended the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant families at the Mexico-U.S. border by lamenting the collapse of the “American family” and claiming liberals “care far more about foreigners than about their own people.“
“You think any of these people really care about family separation?” Carlson said of critics of the policy of separating families, which the administration eventually reversed after it was widely denounced by both Democrats and Republicans. “If they did, they’d be upset about the collapse of the American family, which is measurable and real. They’re not. They welcome that collapse, because strong families are an impediment to their political power, and that’s why they’re always lecturing you about the patriarchy and the evil of the nuclear family.”
Ryan Lenz, a senior investigative reporter at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the Daily Beast that references to a country’s “traditional family structures” are popular talking points within white nationalist circles.
“People talking about the importance of a family in American culture, in a political context, doesn’t necessarily make it an extremist sentiment or a white nationalist one,” Lenz said. “However that discussion about preserving the American family has been a sentiment that has appeared and used in ideologies across the far right. … In the white nationalist context, it has appeared most prominently in the idea of traditionalism.”