Megyn Kelly’s interview Thursday with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro veered into wildly accusatory territory, and the Fox News anchor said she had no interest in perpetuating the extreme sentiment.
The most notable moment of the interview came when Shapiro, a columnist for Breitbart and TruthRevolt, offered an incendiary explanation for the Obama administration’s response to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers.
Their deaths, as well as the murder of a young Palestinian boy, have sparked renewed violence between Israel and Hamas, and Kelly wanted to know if there was “anything we could have done to try to stop this from escalating.”
Shapiro denounced the administration for not threatening to withdraw aid from Palestine after the kidnapping and condemned President Obama for saying “Israel should act with restraint with regards to the people who had kidnapped and killed these boys.”
(Obama actually said that “[a]ll parties must protect the innocent and act with reasonableness and restraint, not vengeance and retribution.”)
“This is an anti-Israel administration. It’s the first administration in American history that is obviously anti-Israel,” Shapiro said. “It’s borderline a Jew-hating administration.”
“Wow,” Kelly said. “That’s strong.”
Kelly pushed back further, pointing out that Israel’s Iron Dome, the country’s air defense system, has been “largely funded in part by the United States, hundreds of millions of dollars, under President Barack Obama.”
“Well, the President of the United States still is going to sign over money to Israel because it’s politically unpalatable not to do so,” Shapiro responded. “But that doesn’t mean that the President of the United States can’t undermine Israel’s ability to take out the people that are going after it.”
As is custom in today’s era of cable news and social media collaboration, notable quotes were tweeted out from Kelly’s account throughout the interview — including Shapiro’s inflammatory “Jew-hating administration” line.
Some Twitter users were astounded to see the quote passed around by Kelly and they called her out for giving oxygen to Shapiro’s accusation.
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) July 11, 2014
Ultimately, Kelly took to Twitter herself to concede that the critics had a point. She said that Shapiro’s remark was tweeted out by her staff and was not something she wanted to circulate. Kelly said she deleted the tweet.
Critics have point-@benshapiro quote tweeted by staff during show; not a cmt I wish 2 recirc which is why I challenged on air& deleted tweet
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) July 11, 2014
Shapiro was unequivocal when he levied the anti-Semitic charge in a column last week. His “borderline” caveat was noticeably absent from the unambiguously titled piece, “The Jew-Hating Obama Administration.”
Correction: This post has been updated to indicate that the tweet was sent from Kelly’s own Twitter account, which is occasionally controlled by her show’s staff.