In an unexpected move, FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly apologized for falsely claiming — during more than one segment — that no members of the Republican Party were invited to speak at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington on Wednesday.
During his ‘Tip of the Day’ segment on The O’Reilly Factor, the man known for his often bigoted and racist rants actually showed professionalism and admitted the error in his statements. He not only apologized, but said that invited members of the GOP were wrong for not attending.
I said that there were no Republican speakers invited. Wrong. I was wrong. Some of the Republicans were asked to speak; they declined. That was a mistake; they should have spoken. Now, the mistake…entirely on me. I assumed that since all the speakers were liberal Democrats that Republicans were excluded. Now, here’s the tip of the day: Always check out the facts before making a definitive statement. And when you make a mistake, admit it. By the way, I’m sorry I made that mistake. Because I know that you guys watch The Factor for accuracy.
We’re stunned. True, the facts were easily proven and his claim so easily disproven that he really had no other option, but still…we’re stunned.
As previously reported by NewsOne, not a single Republican elected official — not one — participated in the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, despite invitations from event organizers.
Republicans came up with a laundry list of excuses, from ill health to scheduling conflicts, to justify their absence, but former Republican Chair Michael Steele said that the conservative response is a typical — and damaging — one:
“It’s part of a continuing narrative that the party finds itself in with these big deals for minority communities around the country and how they perceive our response to them,” he said.
Steele was not invited to speak because he isn’t a current party or elected official. “But if I were the current chairman and hadn’t been invited, that’d be a different story,” he said. “If I hadn’t been invited, I would have forced myself on them.”
The Washington Post reports:
“We had a very concerted effort, because this is not a political moment. This was about us coming together as a community, so we wanted to be sure that we had all political representations,” Daughtry said. “We attempted very vigorously to have someone from the GOP participate and unfortunately they were unable to find someone who was able to participate.”
House Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio), the highest-ranking Republican in Washington, was invited to attend Wednesday’s gathering but declined because of a scheduling conflict, aides said.
Boehner was in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and had no public schedule Wednesday but has been headlining dozens of GOP fundraisers nationwide this month. Aides noted that he led an official congressional commemoration of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on July 31 at the U.S. Capitol that other top congressional leaders attended.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) received an invitation to attend 12 days ago, which was too late to change scheduled political appearances Wednesday in North Dakota and Ohio, aides said.
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), currently the only Black senator serving in the United States government, was not invited to speak, but his spokesperson issued a statement minimizing any political controversy that fact could potentially cause.