Carlson responds to Omar: It's not about race

Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonCNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race Berkeley City Council member calls Tucker Carlson 'white supremacist goblin' GOP senator calls Ocasio-Cortez and other freshman congresswomen the 'four horsewomen of the Apocalypse' MORE used his show Wednesday to respond to criticism that his comments about Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' Rep. Haaland says Trump's go-back remarks 'perplexing and wrongheaded' to Native Americans Trump blasts 'bonkers' media spewing 'Radical Left Democrat views' 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 BidenUkrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony Biden campaign taps foreign policy vet Nicholas Burns as adviser: report 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 SmithThe House Democrats who voted to kill impeachment effort Overnight Defense: Esper officially nominated for Defense secretary | Pentagon silent on Turkey getting Russian missile system | House, Senate headed for clash over defense bill House and Senate head for showdown on must-pass defense bill 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."