Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said Tuesday he was distracted by Rep. Maxine Waters’ hair, comparing it to a “James Brown wig.”
During Fox & Friends, O’Reilly watched a clip of Waters, a Black Democrat from California, saying on the House floor that criticism of the president was patriotic.
“We fight against this president and we point out how dangerous he is,” Waters said on the floor. “…We’re fighting for democracy. We’re fighting for America. We’re saying to those who say they’re patriotic, but they turn a blind eye to the destruction he is about to cause to this country. You are not nearly as patriotic as we are.”
O’Reilly was asked for his thoughts on Waters’ comments. He instead discussed her appearance.
“I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig,” he said, referencing the late soul singer.
While two of the Fox & Friends cohosts joined in on O’Reilly’s comments, Ainsley Earnhardt cut in to say she had to defend Waters.
“You can’t go after a woman’s looks,” she said. “I think she’s very attractive.”
O’Reilly replied, “I didn’t say she wasn’t attractive… I love James Brown, but it’s the same hair.”
He later went on to invite Waters, who has been in Congress since 1991, on his own show.
By Tuesday afternoon, O’Reilly apologized for his comments.
“As I have said many times, I respect Congresswoman Maxine Waters for being sincere in her beliefs,” he said in a statement. “I said that again today on Fox & Friends calling her ‘old school.’ Unfortunately, I also made a jest about her hair which was dumb. I apologize.”