The veteran Fox News journalist Chris Wallace knocked down conservative suggestions that President Barack Obama was fanning racial flames with an off-the-cuff speech on the death of Trayvon Martin and racial progress in the U.S.
Fox contributor Juan Williams had earlier said that Obama’s speech — which was his most extensive on the subject as president — was “risky.” But Wallace brushed off that suggestion.
“I thought that president was trying to put this in context and I think, to a certain degree, he was trying to explain, in a verdict that has been somewhat divisive in this country, why both sides feel the way they do,” said Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday.”
Wallace said that Obama took a realistic tone to his speech, pointing out how he downplayed any notion that the Department of Justice would open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman, who was acquitted last weekend of both second-degree murder and manslaughter in Martin’s death.
Instead of stoking racial tensions, Wallace said Obama’s speech could compare to other memorable ones of his career — like those after mass shootings in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011, and in Newtown, Conn., last year.
“Boy, I sure don’t see how you can read this as in any way stoking racial tensions,” Wallace said.
He added: “Initially, he may have felt that anything he said would only increase the tensions. … This is a president who believes in teachable moments, and I think he felt the desire to be on the record and to say what he felt on these issues.”
Here’s the clip, via Mediaite:
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