In an ongoing feud sparked by Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) comments on poverty in inner cities, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) on Wednesday slammed Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s “race hustlers” remark as “disgusting and divisive.”
After Ryan’s initial comments, Lee criticized his claim as a “thinly veiled racial attack.” The Wisconsin Republican later said he was “inarticulate” and sought out a meeting with Lee and the Congressional Black Caucus.
On Tuesday, O’Reilly pressed Ryan about his comments and whether he had smoothed things over with Lee. The Fox host then went on a tangent about “race hustlers.”
“These race hustlers make a big living and they get voted into office by portraying their constituents as victims,” he said. “And it’s all your fault, and it’s my fault, it’s the rich people’s fault, it’s the Republicans’ fault. It’s everybody’s fault except what’s going on.”
Lee hit back in a Wednesday statement.
“Unfortunately we’ve come to expect language like ‘welfare queens,’ ‘food stamp president,’ and now ‘race hustlers’ from the right wing and Mr. O’Reilly. It is disgusting and divisive and should never be accepted in our national discourse,” she said. “For us to achieve the American dream for all, we must engage in this conversation that has been sparked about race and poverty, even if it is difficult for some.”