Fox News host Jeannine Pirro raised eyebrows on Wednesday, Aug. 12, when she said she believed “something” would happen to former Vice President Joe Biden before the November election and he would likely not end up on the ballot.
Pirro is a rabidly pro-Trump voice on the network, with a history of attacking Democratic and progressive politicians. She later walked back her comments on Biden, which some interpreted as a threat or prediction of his death, saying she only meant that there was chaos ongoing in the Democratic Party.
Here’s what you need to know:
On The Five, Pirro Said, ‘For Some Reason, I Just Have This Feeling That Joe Biden Isn’t Going to be on the Ticket’
Appearing on Fox’s weekday evening program The Five, Pirro was reacting to both the news that Biden picked Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate and a recent poll indicating many voters didn’t expect Biden to finish a four-year term if elected.
“For some reason, I just have this feeling that Joe Biden isn’t going to be on the ticket,” Pirro said. “I have a sense that something’s going to happen before the election and he’s not even going to be on the ticket, so don’t even ask me if he’s going to make the four years.”
A co-host of The Five could be heard off-screen saying, “Oh man,” after Pirro’s remarks.
The poll in question was conducted by Rasmussen, an organization that most often releases poll results favorable to Republicans.
According to Rasmussen’s poll, 59% of Americans surveyed said they expected Biden’s vice president to finish his term, should be be elected.
Some — Including Pirro’s Own Co-Hosts — Reacted With Shock at Her Comments & She Later Walked Them Back Somewhat
Fox anchor Bret Baier offered some pushback later in the program, telling Pirro that, although he respects her “opinions and fiery passions about things,” Biden would certainly be the nominee, the Hill reported.
“Last night was the last Democratic primary … So, he is going to be the nominee and next week we will see the official nomination,” Baier said. “You’re saying he doesn’t make it all the way. The bumper stickers are already printed. It is Biden-Harris. He is going to be the nominee next week.”
Pirro jumped back in to clarify that she wasn’t insinuating that Biden would die — rather that the process within the Democratic Party has been chaotic and unpredictable.
“I just want to say something,” she said. “Look, I wish him all good health. That’s not what I’m talking about. He’s got the numbers. But things are so crazy right now. I don’t know what’s happening in the Democrat Party. That’s all I’m saying. I hope he lives forever.”
Still, Twitter Lit Up, With Some Seeing Pirro’s Words as a Threat
The Poynter Institute said Pirro’s comments were “irresponsible, troubling and over the line” in a Thursday newsletter
“To suggest that a candidate is not going to be on the ticket and say it without any facts or explanation of why is incredibly irresponsible,” senior media writer Tom Jones wrote. “Pirro says outlandish things, but this was another level. How is Fox News OK with this?”
Attorney and author Rabia Chaudry took Pirro’s comments as a comment on 77-year-old Biden’s health, saying, “Pirro basically saying Biden will be dead within months, totally normal stuff.”
Mother Jones National Affairs Editor Mark Follman said it sounded like Pirro was wishing “personal catastrophe” on Biden, asking, “What the hell is wrong with these people?”
Heavy reached out to Fox News for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
The Democratic National Convention will begin on Monday, Aug. 17. Biden will accept the party’s nomination that Thursday night at 10 p.m ET during the live-streamed program.