Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has come under fire after he seemed to defend the living conditions of the slaves who built the White House.
O’Reilly’s remarks came one day after First Lady Michelle Obama’s widely praised speech at the Democratic National Convention, where she celebrated the progress of American civil rights by mentioning she wakes up “every morning in a house that was built by slaves.”
In a poor attempt to fact check that claim, O’Reilly said the slaves who built the White House “were well-fed and had decent lodgings.”
O’Reilly was immediately slammed on social media for appearing to defend the institution of slavery.
Meanwhile, some Democrats saw in O’Reilly’s remark as an effort to interfere with the accolades for Obama’s speech– instead trying to drag it into a debate about race and slavery.
“Her speech was great. So instead of letting that exist they’re stirring base to make it about Michelle talking about slavery,” one Democratic strategist said. “It’s a very ugly tactic.”
In his full remarks, O’Reilly said slaves “did participate in the construction of the White House,” but added, “in addition, free blacks, [whites] and immigrants also worked on the massive building.”
“Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well,” he said.