What did Tomi Lahren say about Colin Kaepernick?
Tomi Lahren, right-wing provocateur and host of Tomi on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze, went on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah to discuss a number of issues, including Black Lives Matter, mainstream media and Colin Kaepernick's protest of the national anthem. During the interview, Lahren was more than ready to offer criticisms of Kaepernick's protest, saying he was doing it the wrong way – a refrain repeated often by conservative critics – but consistently failed to provide any suggestions for alternatives.
In August, Kaepernick explained his protest in an exclusive interview with NFL media:
I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.
On her show, Lahren referred to Kaepernick's statement as "mouth diarrhea," then stated, "I support the First Amendment. I support your right to freedom of speech and expression." In the segment, which marked Lahren as a lightning rod among conservatives, she calls Kaepernick a "whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking cry baby" for using his celebrity to highlight systemic racism in the United States. While insisting that the American flag and national anthem aren't symbols of "white America, black America, brown America, or purple America, for that matter," Lahren neglects to mention that the national anthem includes a verse that some historians interpret as celebrating the death of slaves, and was written by Francis Scott Key, a slaveholder who believed black people are "a distinct and inferior race of people."
Lahren reiterated her stance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah that she agrees Kaepernick has the right to protest, but that she also has the right to criticize his protest, and thinks it's unfair that she's criticized for criticizing Kaepernick's criticism of America.
In the conversation with Noah, Lahren states that she thinks Kaepernick "went about [protesting] the wrong way." Noah then asks:
What is the right way? When people say that I'm always fascinated. What is the right way? Here's a black man in America who says, I don't know how to get a message across. If I march in the streets, people say I'm a thug. If I go out and I protest, people say that it's a riot. If I bend down on one knee then it's not — what is the right way? That's something I've always wanted to know. What is the right way for a black person to get attention in America?
Lahren never answers this question. Instead, she circles back to her belief that protesting the flag and the anthem aren't "the correct outlet for your anger," and then says she wants to know what, exactly, Kaepernick is protesting. Noah informs her that Kaepernick has explained that, but Lahren continues:
Is it against police? Is it against the government? I'm not sure what oppression he's discussing. I would love to have him come on my show and discuss it with me. ... So what is he protesting?
On Wednesday afternoon, the same day The Daily Show sat down with Lahren, Kaepernick told CSN Chicago:
I've been very clear from the beginning that I'm against systematic oppression. Police violence is just one of the symptoms of that oppression. For me that is something that needs to be addressed but it's not the whole issue.
Toward the end of her interview, Lahren argues that being a woman marginalizes her, but that she chooses not to protest her country about it and repeats, "I don't see what he's protesting. I would like to know exactly what he's protesting."