A CNN panel on Wednesday devolved into yelling when political commentator Angela Rye confronted right-wing radio host and former congressman Joe Walsh over a tweet he had posted on Tuesday, saying, “We LOWERED the bar for Obama. He was held to a lower standard cuz he was black.”
Walsh’s tweet was in response to a comment Rye had made during another appearance on CNN, in which she said that former President Obama “had to be the next best thing to Jesus,” an apparent reference to what she believed was an impossibly high standard that Obama was held to.
Walsh, after telling Rye that “no politician can be compared to Jesus” and that the bar was lowered for Obama, said, “Obama’s blackness protected him. Liberal white guilt wouldn’t allow criticism. He was held to a lower bar.”
When Walsh’s tweets were brought up during Wednesday’s panel, he doubled down on his claims.
“Never in our country’s history have we had a president so, like, coddled and pampered and protected by the media like Barack Obama,” Walsh said. “That’s not a high standard … he was held to a very low standard because the media so loved him.”
When host Brooke Baldwin began to dispute Walsh’s claim that the media went easy on Obama, Rye interjected and said, “Did you or did you not say that you lowered the standard because he was black?”
“Absolutely,” said Walsh.
“And that is what makes you a bigot, Joe,” Rye fired back.
Baldwin also asked Walsh who he was referring to when he said “we” in his tweet, and Walsh said he was referencing the media and white liberals.
When Rye interrupted him again, Walsh said, “Angela, are you going to let me speak or not?”
“Are you going to say something while your mouth is moving?” Rye said, before Baldwin cut in to allow Walsh to speak.
“We elected our first black president. That was a big deal, and because of that, we lowered the standard. We did not criticize him like all of our other presidents. We didn’t vet him like all of our other presidents. We were invested in that first black president succeeding,” Walsh said, while Rye and Baldwin looked shocked.
Rye immediately pushed back against Walsh’s claims, asking, “I’m sorry, where are Donald Trump’s tax returns? What are you talking about?”
“Is Donald Trump’s standard lower than Barack Obama’s? Please tell me you see that,” she added.
When Walsh said that both Trump and Obama had no experience in government before being elected president (Obama was a US senator before becoming president), Rye said that Obama “served in Congress longer than you did, Joe, so you might not want to talk about lowering the bar. You did one term [in Congress].”