Fox News personality Jesse Watters was criticized after he claimed former Democratic President Barack Obama does not view things "from an American perspective."
Watters, who was named Tucker Carlson's permanent replacement in the 8 p.m. time slot on the network, expressed his views on Obama's comments about the Titan submersible tragedy.
While Watters refrained from mentioning false claims about Obama's birthplace, he argued the former President's "global" background and experiences prevented him from fully understanding and addressing American concerns.
Obama highlighted the discrepancy in media coverage between the Titan incident, which claimed five lives, and a shipwreck off Greece that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of migrants. He suggested the disproportionate attention given to the former incident reflected the growing disparity in people's life chances and the threat of "obscene inequality" to democracy.
While Watters did not touch on the false far-right claims about Obama's birthplace, he nonetheless flirted with the racist birther conspiracies that Obama was not born in and has no allegiance to the United States.
You can hear what Watters said in the video below.
Watters argued that due to Obama's father's African roots and his upbringing in Southeast Asia, as well as his time spent in Hawaii, he was more inclined to consider global issues rather than solely focusing on American concerns.
“When you are a citizen of the world, you always think about the world instead of the United States. Remember, this is a guy whose father has roots in Africa. This is a guy who spent a lot of his childhood in Southeast Asia … and then spent a lot of time in Hawaii.” ...
“He’s never really looking at things from an American perspective. He’s always speaking to the world. Even when he’s speaking to us, he’s appealing to the world.”
Watters further criticized Obama's understanding of American interests by contrasting the intense interest in the Titan submersible incident with the shipwreck off Greece.
Watters claimed that the former generated more attention due to its connection to the Titanic story, the perceived suspense surrounding the potential lack of oxygen for those on board, and its proximity to the United States.
In contrast, Watters argued that the shipwreck off Greece, while tragic, did not hold the same level of relevance or concern for most Americans in their everyday lives.
“We don’t live in Europe, Barack Obama. This is the United States of America."
And it just shows how naive, detached, and how snobby he is to not undersand that this is the United States, and as sad as [the shipwreck of migrants off Greece] is — and it was a horrible story off the coast — this is not something that concerns most Americans in their spare time.”
Watters was swiftly criticized for his remarks.
The birtherism conspiracy theory revolves around the false claim that Obama, the 44th President of the United States, was not born in the United States and therefore was ineligible to hold the presidency.
Specifically, the theory suggested that Obama was not born in Hawaii, as his birth certificate states, but in another country, most often claimed to be Kenya, his father's birthplace.
The birtherism conspiracy gained traction during Obama's presidential campaign in 2008 and continued to circulate throughout his presidency. Despite overwhelming evidence and the release of his long-form birth certificate in 2011, which confirmed his birth in Honolulu, Hawaii, some individuals and groups continued to propagate the false narrative.
The conspiracy theory was primarily fueled by right-wing activists, political opponents, and some conservative media outlets.
Critics argue that birtherism was rooted in racism and xenophobia, as it targeted Obama's heritage and questioned his legitimacy as a U.S. citizen and president based on his African ancestry. Many see it as an attempt to undermine Obama's credibility and delegitimize his presidency.