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Bill O'Reilly went off on his show Wednesday night, defending himself over comments saying that slaves who built the White House were "well fed and had decent lodgings."
The conservative talk show host made the comments Tuesday night in response to First Lady Michelle Obama's speech at the DNC on Monday in which she said, "I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn."
O'Reilly said the White House was not built entirely by slaves and that those who did participate in its construction were treated well. This, predictably, did not go over well and he was dragged online for his ignorance.
The idiocy never ceases to amaze me. Try slavery, Bill. Let us know how good the food is while you wear chains. https://t.co/sHSWPljgyd— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) July 27, 2016
Bill O’Reilly said some slaves had it pretty good. Interesting. Does he have any positive spin on the Holocaust? He seems glass-half-full.— tim47 (@timhamilton47) July 27, 2016
Dear Bill O'Reilly...live through this a few times... pic.twitter.com/reJpHhTaSh— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) July 27, 2016
He responded to the criticisms Wednesday, first on Twitter and then later on his show, where he said he was simply explaining history, not defending it, as it is "a given that slavery is an abomination."
"As any honest historian knows, in order to keep slaves and free laborers strong, the Washington administration provided meat, bread and other staples, also decent lodging on the grounds of the new presidential building," he said.
He characterized the criticism of his response as a smear campaign from "left wing zealots" designed to "diminish [him] and harm the Fox News channel."
O'Reilly added, "I think the time has come now, where this whole network is going to have to band together, all of us, and we are going to have to call out the people who are actively trying to destroy this network, by using lies and deception and propaganda. We're going to have to start to call them out by name, because that's how bad it's become."
Joining O'Reilly on the segment, Fox News pundits Geraldo Rivera and Eric Bolling came to his defense, going on to discuss how they believe Black Lives Matters movement is targeting white people with "racial provocations." O'Reilly said he believes Fox News could be attacked next in the same way police have been targeted in recent months.
"They want me dead, Bolling," he said. "Literally dead."