Carlson responds to Omar: It's not about race

Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonMSNBC 'Climate in Crisis' special draws 1.3M viewers in 8 pm timeslot Tucker Carlson defends former colleague Megyn Kelly amid Trudeau blackface controversy Visiting California, Trump pledges action on homelessness MORE used his show Wednesday to respond to criticism that his comments about Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarGOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to meet with lawmakers | Big tech defends efforts against online extremism | Trump attends secretive Silicon Valley fundraiser | Omar urges Twitter to take action against Trump tweet Omar asks Twitter what it's doing in response to Trump spreading 'lies that put my life at risk' 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 official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' Warren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll 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 SmithOvernight Defense: Pentagon waiting for Saudi assessment on attack | Defense bill talks begin | Border fight takes centerstage | Pentagon finalizes .5B in wall contracts | US withholds Afghan aid citing corruption House Armed Services panel gets classified briefing on Saudi attacks Negotiators kick off defense bill talks amid border wall, Iran debates 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."