Trish Regan slams Kamala Harris for comparing ICE to KKK

Fox Business host Trish Regan on Thursday criticized Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris picks Baltimore as headquarters for potential 2020 campaign: report Ocasio-Cortez returns to 'The Late Show' on Monday Ocasio-Cortez's first House floor speech becomes C-SPAN's most-viewed Twitter video MORE (D-Calif.) for drawing a parallel between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Ku Klux Klan.

“A perception of ICE as akin to the KKK?” Regan asked. “Sen. Harris should know better." 

Regan's criticism comes after a Thursday hearing where Harris questioned acting ICE Director Ronald Vitiello, who had come under fire for a statement describing the Democratic Party as "NeoKlanist."

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Harris took umbrage at that description, for which Vitiello apologized, before asking him about ICE's activities. Her questioning sought to invoke similarities between ICE's activities and the KKK. 

After Vitiello said he regretted his words, Harris asked a series of questions about why he was wrong to use the words and what role the KKK played in U.S. history.

Vitiello described the KKK as a domestic terrorist group because “they tried to use fear and force to change political environment."

“And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force?” Harris asked.

"It was based on race and ethnicity,” Vitiello responded.

“Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and the discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the laws?” Harris asked. “Do you see any parallels?”

“I see no perception that puts ICE in the same category as the KKK,” Vitiello responded. “Is that what you’re asking me?”

Harris said she was specifically asking Vitiello about a perception of ICE. 

When asked if Harris was comparing ICE to the KKK, a spokesperson said, "No, she was not," and pointed to a moment from the hearing when Harris said "the vast majority of the men and women who work in the agency do a noble and good job.”

Regan said Harris was wading into "dangerous rhetoric." She also said that Harris, who is though to be considering a run for the White House in 2020, knows better but "just doesn't care."

“She seems to have no problem lying to the American public all in an effort to advance her standing with the base of her party,” Regan said.

Regan accused liberals of “manipulating history” to confuse people and “instill fear in anyone who dares to disagree with them.”

The host said that she would dare to disagree because she’s an “honest American who knows her U.S. history.”

“And I refuse to allow politicians playing identity politics to corrupt that history,” she concluded.

“There is nothing racist or klan-ish about it,” Regan said of ICE. 

A spokeswoman for Harris said Fox News was simply seeking to manufacture outrage, and faulted Regan for not pointing out Vitiello's remarks comparing the Democratic Party to the KKK. 

"It should come as a surprise to no one that Fox News is using distortion tactics and misinformation to manufacture outrage," the spokeswoman said in an email to The Hill. "Senator Harris and her colleagues found it disturbing that a nominee to lead any government agency compared the Democratic Party to the KKK. Fox should too."

Harris said after the hearing that there was “no question” the migrant caravan of Central American asylum-seekers was politicized before this year's midterm elections.