New York Times reporter Lisa Lerer said Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) sharp refusal to appear on Fox News for a town hall veered "dangerously close to deplorables," referring to Hillary Clinton's infamous slam on Donald Trump supporters in 2016.
Warren called Fox a "hate-for profit racket" that "balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies" with some legitimate journalism in explaining why she rejected the network's invitation.
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"There is some concern with the Warren argument that it tiptoes dangerously close to deplorables, that phrase that got Hillary Clinton in so much trouble during the last election, and so you don't want to sort of vilify people, even if you're trying to vilify the network," Lerer said Monday on CNN, in a clip flagged by the Hill.
Clinton said in 2016 that one could put about half of Trump's supporters in what she called a "basket of deplorables," calling them, "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it." She later walked back the comments, saying she didn't mean to say "half."
The Democratic National Committee announced in March it would not allow Fox News to moderate any primary debates, citing a New Yorker story about the Trump administration's relationship with the channel.
While Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) have rejected Fox's invites to do town halls, several other Democratic presidential candidates have already appeared done or planned to do them. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg did a town hall Sunday night moderated by Chris Wallace, drawing more than 1 million viewers. He took shots at Fox opinion hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham by name while explaining his decision to appear.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) have also appeared on Fox for town halls, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) has one planned for June 2.