Carlson responds to Omar: It's not about race

Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonKaren McDougal sues Fox News over alleged slander Conservative Dan Bongino launches alternative to the Drudge Report Trump's Afghanistan 'peace deal' evidences Tucker Carlson's 'salesman' claim MORE used his show Wednesday to respond to criticism that his comments about Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (D-Minn.) the previous night were racist.

Carlson faced backlash Wednesday after Omar and progressive groups called out his comments about the freshman representative's story of becoming an elected official after coming to the U.S. as a Somali refugee. He said her history is "proof" that American immigration has "become dangerous to this country." 

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"They didn’t rebut our points, or even acknowledge them. They just tried to silence us. That’s how they operate. And of course they called us racist. On one level, that’s amusing, given how absurd the charge is," Carlson said Wednesday night, referring to renewed calls for advertisers to pull out of Fox News segments. 

"Racist? No. We’re against racism, adamantly. Omar consistently puts her own race at the center of the conversation, but to us it’s irrelevant," Carlson continued. 

Omar told reporters Wednesday morning she believes Carlson is a "racist fool." She later joined Bend the Arc, a progressive Jewish group, in calling out advertisers who enable a "nightly platform to white supremacist rhetoric." 

Carlson defended himself Wednesday by comparing Omar with another refugee, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who he said "loves and cares about the United States" and "believes our country is superior to the country she came from." 

Ali is a writer who has said Islam fundamentally is incompatible with Western democratic values. 

"Two Somali immigrants. One, among the most impressive people in America. The other, among the least. It’s not about race," Carlson said. 

He also said the "left" taught Omar that "crying racism pays" and made a broader claim that Democrats as a whole are not patriotic. 

"Now it’s routine to hear Democratic presidential candidates question the basic legitimacy of the United States. Even supposed moderates, like Joe BidenJoe BidenRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Trump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE, join in," he said. "That should worry you. No country can survive being ruled by people who hate it. We deserve better."

The Hill reached out to Omar's office for comment following Carlson's broadcast. 

Omar did not tweet in response to Carlson's Wednesday night show as of 9:30 p.m. In a Wednesday night tweet she did thank Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithBombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Overnight Defense: Dems unveil impeachment articles against Trump | Saudi military flight students grounded after shooting | Defense bill takes heat from progressives | Pentagon watchdog to probe use of personnel on border Armed Services chair calls defense bill 'most progressive in the history of the country' after criticism MORE (D-Wash.) for defending her in light of Carlson's "racist, bigoted, and xenophobic" comments during Tuesday night's show. 

Smith said Omar "fights each day to improve the lives of people throughout America."