Megyn Kelly this weekend got into into a back-and-forth with Colin Kaepernick and others over institutional racism and American foreign policy in the wake of President Donald Trump‘s controversial airstrike on an Iranian general.
Echoing a longstanding leftist condemnation of the American military, Kaepernick argued that it supported a larger, inherently racist system of violence around the world. (A former San Francisco 49ers quarterback-turned-social activist, Kaepernick hasn’t played on a team in the league since the season he began kneeling to protest during the national anthem before games.)
“There is nothing new about American terrorist attacks against Black and Brown people for the expansion of American imperialism,” he wrote on Twitter, referencing last week’s U.S. airstrike on Soleimani, who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.
“America has always sanctioned and besieged Black and Brown bodies both at home and abroad,” Kaepernick added. “America militarism is the weapon wielded by American imperialism, to enforce its policing and plundering of the non white world.”
Kelly, 49, took offense to the Nike-sponsored athlete’s sentiment. She questioned whether the killing of one of Iran’s most prominent figures, whom the American government says is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, had anything to do with race.
“Because everything is racist,” Kelly tweeted derisively of Kaepernick’s comment. “Everything. Even fighting back against terrorists who kill Americans. Nike, feeling proud?”
“Educate yourself before you talk about racism and legitimate claims,” wrote DuVernay, 47. “You sound like what you are. Ignorant. Attention seeking. And desperate. That will be all.”
She later muted Kelly on Twitter.
The former Fox News anchor and Today host responded to DuVernay that she wouldn’t be shamed over criticizing what she called “b——- claims of racism.”
“Killing a terrorist is not about skin color,” Kelly wrote back to DuVernay. “It’s about protecting our country from a guy who murdered hundreds of Americans, period.”
The tweets on each side were liked or shared tens of thousands of times.
Kelly, who left NBC after controversially wondering whether wearing blackface for Halloween was really racist, has previously said she’s never been a “politically correct person.” (She’s apologized for her blackface remarks.)
No, I will not be shamed over calling out bullshit claims of racism – which undermine the legitimate claims. Killing a terrorist is not about skin color; it’s about protecting our country from a guy who murdered hundreds of Americans, period.
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) January 5, 2020
Kaepernick’s comment that American wars disproportionately harm people of color — both in the U.S. and around the world — is a familiar liberal criticism of such conflicts, alongside the argument that they are classist, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a tweet of her own over the weekend.
“The rich and powerful who open war escape the consequences of their decisions,” Orcasio-Cortez wrote. “It’s not their children sent into the jaws of violence. It is often the vulnerable, the poor, & working people -who had little to no say in conflict – who pay the price.”
President Trump’s surprise decision to kill the notorious Soleimani was denounced by Iranian officials, who vowed “revenge” on the U.S.
Some Democrats also questioned the strategic value of Trump’s military strike and its timing, given his upcoming impeachment trial and the 2020 election.
On Friday, Trump addressed the media at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, saying the U.S. took action “to stop a war,” not start one. Critics, however, have noted the government’s track record on such arguments, including Bush-era claims about alleged weapons of mass destruction before invading Iraq.
“General Qassem Soleimani has killed or badly wounded thousands of Americans over an extended period of time, and was plotting to kill many more…but got caught!” Trump tweeted Friday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week the airstrike had been done without Congress’ consultation and was unduly “provocative.”
Indeed, in the days since, the president has issued all-caps Twitter warnings to Iran amid the escalating tensions.
“American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests,” Pelosi said in a Thursday statement. “But we cannot put the lives of American servicemembers, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions. … America — and the world — cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return.”