Rep. Maxine Waters lit into Bill O’Reilly and other “right-wing talking heads” that she said were trying to intimidate black women and others. She made the comments Tuesday on MSNBC to Chris Hayes, in apparent reference to a mocking joke O’Reilly made earlier in the day.
“And let me just say this,” Waters declared. “I am a strong black woman and I cannot be intimidated, I cannot be undermined, I cannot be thought to be a friend of Bill O’Reilly or anybody.”
“And I’d like to say to women out there everywhere,” she continued, “don’t allow these right-wing talking heads, these dishonorable people, to intimidate you or scare you. Be who you are, do what you do, and let us on with discussing the real issues of this country. “
“Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes have no credibility,” she added. “They have been sued by women. They’ve had to pay millions of dollars out in fines for harassment and other kinds of things. And so we know about that checkered past.”
“And we also know that when a woman stands up and speaks truth to power,” she concluded, “that there will be attempts to put her down. And so I’m not going to be put down. I’m not going to go anywhere, I’m going to stay on the issues.”
Bill O’Reilly had made the joke about Waters’ hair while appearing on “Fox and Friends,” for which he later apologized. Many characterized it as a racist attack, something he did not address in his apology, which simply said it was a “dumb” jest.
— All In w/Chris Hayes (@allinwithchris) March 29, 2017
The “dumb” jest in question was made at the expense of her hair after Fox aired a clip of Waters speaking about discrimination. When asked to comment about it, O’Reilly answered, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.” While the two male hosts laughed, Ainsley Earhardt objected to O’Reilly joking about a “woman’s looks.”
“As I have said many times,’ O’Reilly later said in a statement. “I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs. I said that today on ‘Fox and Friends’ calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair, which was dumb. I apologize.”
Waters has been a very vocal critic of the Trump administration, which she said was full of “scumbags” in February. She also predicted that the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia would eventually lead to his impeachment.