Fox News host Melissa Francis broke out in tears on Wednesday defending President Donald Trump’s comments doubling down on blaming “both sides” for violence at the weekend rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I am so uncomfortable having this conversation,” Francis told co-hosts on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” as she fought back tears.
“I know what’s in my heart and I know that I don’t think anyone is different, better or worse based on the colour of their skin,” Francis said, wiping away tears. “But I feel like there is nothing any of us can say right now without being judged.”
Francis choked up responding to comments by Fox’s Juan Williams and Marie Harf suggesting that Trump was defending Nazis and KKK members when he said counter-protestors shared blame for the fighting.
“I don’t think both sides have blame,” Williams said. “If you’re a patriot and you show up to stand up for American values and say that it is wrong to be racist and to stand outside a synagogue with automatic machine guns and scare the Jewish people inside.”
When Harf reminded Francis that Trump had said “there were very good people on the other side” ― misquoting the president’s actual words that there were “very fine people on both sides” ― Francis became emotional.
Co-host Harris Faulkner attempted to comfort Francis, saying “there have been a lot of tears on our network, and across the country and around the world.”
“It’s a difficult place where we are, but it’s not where we’ve been, it’s where we are,” Faulkner added. “This is not 1950, we can do this. We can have this conversation, oh yes we can. And it’s OK if we cry having it.”
Francis later apologised on Twitter for becoming emotional. But she didn’t back down from those who criticised her defense of Trump.
Writer Jesse Berney, a Trump critic, pointed out that Francis wanting to end a discussion about racism because it made her uncomfortable is “sneaky racism.”
Harf was “trying to point out the tough facts about what Trump says,” Berney wrote. “Francis won’t let her. White people need to feel that discomfort. We need to embrace it. We need to be willing to examine our own beliefs.”
“You can’t just say ‘I don’t think people are different because of their color’ and declare racism solved,” Berney tweeted at Francis. “That’s not how it works.”
Francis replied: “And you can’t write and write without bothering to LISTEN - you made my point.”
Then, she apparently blocked him on Twitter.
This story originally appeared on HuffPost.