Fox News Reporter Says Colleague Backing Trump On Charlottesville Sounds Like A ‘White Supremacist Chat Room’

Chet StrangeGetty Images

A Fox News reporter stood up to his own colleague this week — one who was defending Donald Trump’s controversial comments on the violence in Charlottesville — saying the Trump-backing reporter sounded like a “white supremacist chat room.”

The incident took place through internal emails, and was leaked to The Daily Beast. The missives showing veteran White House correspondent Jon Decker standing up to colleagues who were promoting Trump’s own defense of comments that there were “very fine people” on both sides of the rally. A number of white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups descended on Charlottesville in 2017 for the “Unite the Right” rally — one that led to violent clashes and the death of a counter-protester. In the wake of the violence, Trump drew widespread criticism for refusing to rebuke the white supremacists involved.

That controversy has been dredged up again by Joe Biden, who showed clips of the violence in Charlottesville in a video announcing the launch of his 2020 presidential campaign. Biden attacked Trump for the comment that there were “very fine people” on both sides of the rally.

As The Daily Beast article pointed out, the launch of Biden’s presidential bid led to some internal discussions within Fox News about the incident. Fox News reporter Doug McKelway circulated an email to dozens of employees, one pointing out how he “fact-checked” Biden by playing the original comments by Donald Trump along with a live interview he had done in Charlottesville. Trump responded this week by saying his “very fine people” remark was meant to be about people who came to the rally in support of a statute of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, but critics said it was promoted as a gathering of white supremacists — with little connection to the statue itself.

McKelway posted a clip of an interview he conducted with Brian Lambert, an armed attendee at the Unite the Right rally, who painted the white supremacist rallygoers as victims of counter-protesters who aimed to “[deny] people their right to assemble.” Fox News digital editor Cody responded to add another interview with a man named Jarrod Kuhn. Kuhn said he came to the rally to protest the removal of the Confederate statue, and was not a white supremacist.

As The Daily Beast pointed out, Decker then stepped in to point out that Kuhn was in fact caught on video chanting “Jews will not replace us” at a rally the previous night. McKelway later replied to add that Lambert was identified as a white supremacist, one who was arrested for trespassing — and who flashed a white power symbol to supporters during court appearances. McKelway then backed away from his support of Lambert’s statements.

Lambert then chided McKelway for including in his email a previous quote from Winston Churchill that read, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

“So much for your Winston Churchill quote,” Decker replied to all of the Fox News employees included in the email thread, further attacking McKelway for “invoking Churchill to what happened in Charlottesville.” He added that his colleague sounded like a “white supremacist chat room.”

The report noted that Doug McKelway had a long history of defending Charlottesville on Fox News, frequently speaking up in favor of the “alt-right” movement that has been tied to racism and anti-Semitism.