David Bossie, president of Citizens United, gestures during South Carolina Freedom Summit hosted by Citizens United and Congressman Jeff Duncan in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on May 9, 2015.
Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images
By Casey Quackenbush
June 25, 2018

Conservative Fox News commentator David Bossie has apologized for a racist remark made on air during “Fox & Friends” on Sunday.

While arguing with Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who is black, Bossie told him, “you’re out of your cotton-picking mind,” CNN reports.

Payne was taken aback by the remark and replied saying he had, “some relatives who picked cotton, and I’m not going to sit back and let you attack me on TV like that.”

Bossie tweeted an apology four and half hours after the show.

Bossie, who formerly served as President Donald Trump’s deputy campaign manager during the 2016 election, said he should have “never used the offensive phrase that I did.”

According to CNN, a Fox News spokesperson declined to say whether Bossie would be suspended, but said in a statement: “David Bossie’s comments today were deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate. His remarks do not reflect the sentiments of Fox News and we do not in any way condone them.”

Joel Payne since reacted on MSNBC, saying he accepted Bossie’s apology but expressed frustration.

“My namesake is my great-grandfather, who was a sharecropper,” he said. “I took that very personally.”

“Our family and people like us have worked very hard to come up over the years. And so, to have someone kind of reduce our experience and try to make light of that experience — which I imagine Mr. Bossie was doing — that was offensive and that was unacceptable to me,” Payne said.

After the segment ended, television host Ed Henry returned to the comment to distance the network from Bossie’s remark.

“I want to make clear Fox News and this show, myself, we don’t agree with that particular phrase,” Henry said. “It was obviously offensive, and these debates get fiery. That’s unfortunate.”

Write to Casey Quackenbush at casey.quackenbush@timeinc.com.

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