News and Analysis

Biden’s Surgeon General Suggests Fox News Should Fire Jesse Watters Or ‘Endorse Violence’
Vivek Murthy, U.S. surgeon general, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, July 15, 2021.
(Photographer: Samuel Corum/CNP/Bloomberg)

President Biden’s U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has suggested that Fox News should fire host Jesse Watters or “passively endorse” statements that “endorse violence” against Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The Biden administration formally waded into the controversy between Watters and Fauci during Tuesday night’s episode of MSNBC’s “The ReidOut.”

“I love talking with smart people, General Murthy, but I’m now going to ask you about one of the dumbest people, sorry to say, in public life. His name is Jesse Watters,” said Joy Reid, as Murthy laughed at her insult.

She then read an extremely truncated version of Watters’ remarks to young people at a Turning Point USA conference, where “The Five” co-host used the terms “ambushes” and “kill shot” in reference to interviewing dissembling politicians on video. Some media outlets sought to interpret his remarks as an incitement to violence against Fauci.

“Well Joy, I did hear about the comment,” Murthy responded. “For anybody out there to use language that would encourage violence or speak to violence – not just against Dr. Fauci, but against anybody, especially somebody who is trying to do good for the country – that’s reprehensible.”

“I’ll say this: If somebody like that worked in my office, in any organization that I ran, they certainly wouldn’t be working there for much longer after a comment like that,” he said. “We, all of us and the roles that we have in our life, we have choices to make about whether we support or passively endorse values and statements like that, that endorse violence. And this is a time where we have to take a stand against the kind of nonsense and disgusting rhetoric that I think have poisoned public debate.”

“The voices of disunity, voices that endorse violence, those are the voices that threaten to tear our country apart, that make it harder to get through a pandemic like this,” said Murthy, adding that, during a global health pandemic, people should not be “trying to turn people against one another.”

“You are a calming presence,” Reid told Murthy at the end of the interview.

The Surgeon General became the second member of the Biden administration to suggest that Fox News should fire the “Watters’ World” star, after Fauci himself. “You have some guy out there saying that people should be giving me a ‘kill shot,’ to ‘ambush me.’ I mean, what kind of craziness is there in society these days?” Fauci asked. “Whatever network he’s on is not going to do anything,” Fauci told CNN’s John Berman earlier on Tuesday. “The guy should be fired on the spot.”

Watters and Fox News have strongly rebuffed the notion that his remarks had anything to do with violence, noting they had been wrenched out of context to fit a narrative of victimization. Watters’ speech explained to young people at Turning Point USA “how you do these ambushes like [Project Veritas founder James] O’Keefe.” O’Keefe, who has never been accused of committing homicide, records undercover videos of public figures and institutions that he believes mislead the American people. Watters called confronting someone with proof of his lie on camera as a “kill shot.” As Amanda Prestigiacomo reported at The Daily Wire:

Fox News on Tuesday said in a statement to The Daily Wire that “it’s more than clear” that Watters was not being literal, and noted the controversy surrounding Fauci’s apparent ties to gain-of-function research.

“Based on watching the full clip and reading the entire transcript, it’s more than clear that Jesse Watters was using a metaphor for asking hard-hitting questions to Dr. Fauci about gain-of-function research and his words have been twisted completely out of context,” the statement read.

You can see the full clip, in context, below:

Yet Murthy maintained that Watters had endorsed violence, and Murthy endorsed Fauci as “a public servant of high integrity who has sought to serve the United States of America for more than four decades. And he is somebody we should be thanking for the efforts he has made to keep us safe during COVID-19.”

Murthy’s assessment of Fauci closely mirrors that of Dr. Fauci himself. “The only thing that I have ever done throughout these two years is to encourage people to practice good public health practices: to get vaccinated, to be careful in public settings, to wear a mask,” Fauci stated on CNN Tuesday.

In fact, Dr. Fauci encouraged the American people not to wear masks during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” said Dr. Fauci in March 2020. “When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better, and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.” By the following January, he endorsed wearing two masks, and later evolved his position even more.

Watters did not explicitly reference the controversy while guest hosting “The Ingraham Angle” on Tuesday night, but he did mention Fauci and outgoing National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins in passing. “You mean Biden’s scientific brain trust of Fauci and Collins couldn’t foresee this? Why am I not surprised?” he asked. “After all, these are the same clowns who thought funding dangerous experiments on bat coronavirus at the Wuhan lab was a grand idea.”

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Biden’s Surgeon General Suggests Fox News Should Fire Jesse Watters Or ‘Endorse Violence’