'Critics Were Much More Right Than I:' Geraldo Changes His Tune on Trump
"My friendship with the president has cost me friendships..."
Though the veteran broadcaster has been a longtime friend of the president and a defender on a variety of issues, Geraldo Rivera has drawn the line at Donald Trump's recent behavior.
In a new interview with The New York Times, Rivera expressed a change of heart inspired by Trump's ongoing war of words with a quartet of incoming, progressive Democratic congresswomen.
The Fox News Channel host said his friendship with Trump had put strains on his friendships, family, and even his marriage.
"I do insist that he's been treated unfairly," Rivera said. "But the unmistakable words he said, the literal words he said, is an indication that the critics were much more right than I."
Trump has faced renewed allegations of racism since his Twitter attacks earlier this month on Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ayanna Pressley, D.Mass.
"So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly … and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run," Trump wrote in the first set of offensive tweets.
Though he did not initially specify which elected officials he meant, subsequent statements made it clear he was referring to the four women of color who joined Congress after victories in last year’s midterm elections.
"Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how … it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!"
Of the four legislators, three were born in America; all are United States citizens. Omar was born in Somalia and arrived in the US as a young child when her parents were accepted as refugees.
"Trump’s recent rhetoric," Rivera said, "has 'made it impossible' for him to continue siding with Trump over his detractors."
The president has continued his offensive against the freshman lawmakers, informally known as “the Squad.”
He claimed, in a tweet on Sunday, that he does not believe “the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country.”
Ignoring calls for his own apology, he attempted to turn the tables on Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley.
“They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said,” he wrote. “They are destroying the Democrat [sic] Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!”
The lawmakers responded as a group and individually to the ongoing criticism out of the White House. Pressley addressed the latest tweet in a statement this week.
“I think we all have to not take the bait, and get off the ride that the occupant of this Oval Office has on us,” she said. “Every tweet he sends is meant to be a distraction from the real problems that this country is facing. And much of this hurt is being exacerbated by him.”
Rivera earlier engaged in an on-air spat with a co-host of Fox & Friends over the issue of “send her back” chants, among other recent acts.
“You can’t say that to me!” he told Pete Hegseth, who was defending the rhetoric. “I’ve gotten into 10 streetfights based on that, saying to me, because I’m Puerto Rican, ‘Go back.’ ... Once you make nationhood and citizenship like that conditional on your political loyalties, you’re on a very dangerous path here.”
About the author
Chris Agee is an American journalist with 20 years of experience in a variety of newsrooms.
In 2018, he founded Informed Media Group with the goal of providing "information without an agenda."
He lives in Phoenix with his wife and son.