Fox News Co-Host Called “Oreo” by MAGA Co-Host

Fox News Co-Host Called “Oreo” by MAGA Co-Host

This is too much comfort in the work place.

I’m breaking a promise in writing this story. I used to mention Harold Ford, Jr regularly when he routinely appeared on Morning Joe. That was before Joe Scarborough’s seeming conversion from a conservative Republican to an Independent, though his white evangelist roots still shine through from time to time. I formerly opined that Ford spent too much time making excuses for racist actions.

I’ve wondered what his father, Harold Ford, Sr, thinks of his son’s career path. Ford, Sr was the first Black elected Representative from Tennessee. His father, Nathan Ford, unsuccessfully ran for the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1966. The family was a fixture in the community, operating one of the leading funeral homes in Memphis. Harold Ford, Sr, was active in Alpha Phi Alpha, and his mother Vera was named Delta Sigma Theta’s Mother of the Year for Tennessee and was first runner-up for the national title.

The Ford children attended the Ford Chapel AME Zion Church, named for their great-grandfather, Newton Ford, who had donated the land. Harold Ford, Sr. and all of his 11 siblings got college degrees, mainly from HBCU Tennessee State University in Nashville. Harold Jr. chose a different path from his parents, aunts, and uncles. He went to the private, all-boys St. Albans school in Washington, DC, whose alums include Al Gore. He went on to the Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a degree in history. Penn’s alums include Donald Trump and three of his children, Don Jr, Ivanka, and Tiffany.

After graduation, Ford started working in government as a staff aide to the Senate Budget Committee. In 1993 he became a special assistant at the United States Department of Commerce. He then attended law school at the University of Michigan Law School, which Ann Coulter attended. Harold returned home to run for the Congressional seat held by his father, who was retiring. While running for office, he suffered the first blip on his resume when he failed the bar exam. He promised he would one day retake it but hasn’t yet.

Harold won his election, becoming one of the youngest members of Congress in 1996 at age 26. In 2002, Ford announced his candidacy for House Democratic Leader, challenging then-House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi, arguing that current leadership was ineffective. While he lost that challenge, he did better than expected and was mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, though he was too young for the office.

Between 1998 and 2003, Ford took 61 privately funded trips, though he did file the proper disclosure forms at the time (unlike Clarence Thomas). He considered running for U.S. Senate in 2002 but ultimately waited until 2006, when he ran and lost to Republican Bob Corker. The campaign had racist undertones. One radio spot had jungle drums playing when Ford’s name was mentioned and patriotic music when Corker’s name was spoken. A television ad that received more attention featured a blonde white woman (implied to be nude) talking about meeting Ford at “the Playboy party”; she returns at the end of the ad to wink and whisper in a seductive tone, “Harold, call me.” The ad was intended to elicit fears of Black men dating white women. Ford Jr. was single then but married a white woman two years later.

In 2007, Ford was named chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. In March of that year, Ford joined the financial services firm Merrill Lynch as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser. In the same month, he was hired by Fox News Channel as a political contributor. In March 2008, he moved from Fox to MSNBC as a news analyst, appearing as a panelist on David Gregory’s Race for the White HouseHardball, and Morning Joe, which was where I noticed him regularly.

By 2010, Ford Jr was considering another bid for the Senate, this time representing New York. The Democratic Party leadership preferred Kirsten Gillibrand, and Chuck Schumer tried to convince Ford not to run. Gillibrand and New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio held a press conference where Ford was accused of receiving taxpayer-backed bonuses from Bank of America, stemming from the federal bailout, while an executive at Merrill Lynch. He was suspended by MSNBC and took an unpaid leave of absence from Merrill Lynch because of his potential campaign. He soon announced in an op-ed in the New York Times he would not challenge Gillibrand in the Democratic primary. In his op-ed, Ford even apologized for the Democrats who bullied him out of the campaign. That was the Harold Ford Jr I’d come to know.

Ford then worked as a managing director at the Wall Street firm Morgan Stanley. In late 2017, media reports said that he was fired for sexual misconduct, and Morgan Stanley issued a statement saying that no sexual misconduct took place. In January 2018, The New York Times reported that Ford reached a legal settlement with Morgan Stanley. Where does one go to rehabilitate one's image after accusations of sexual misconduct? In 2021, Ford returned to Fox News, where sexual misconduct appears to be a badge of honor. Ford was willing and able to weakly defend some progressive views while ignoring the race-baiting and lies of his fellow panelists. Ford never got his own show but would appear on shows like The Five and others needing a faux Democratic voice. He would come on to comment on issues like, Why is Joe Biden Failing With Black Voters?

In a recent segment on The Five, coincidentally during the first week of Black History Month. Co-Host Jeanine Pirro felt comfortable calling her colleague Harold Ford Jr an “Oreo.” A term often used to describe a Black person as Black on the outside and white on the inside. In a segment discussing New York Mayor Eric Adams and his use of the term “chocolate” in his describing the racial makeup of some of his deputies, Pirro also called Adams “articulate,” which has additional racial connotations. The cast went around the horn describing each other in terms like “Cadbury Egg” and “Snickers.” Pirro then called Ford an “Oreo,” which took him aback.

Ford responded, “An Oreo? Did you call me an Oreo?” She affirmed that she did. Ford explained what Oreo meant as if she didn’t know. She didn’t apologize but did recognize the possibility she may have hurt Ford’s feelings.

You can reach a point where people are so comfortable around you that they can say and do anything. When Lamar County Democratic Party chair Gary O’Connor called U.S. Republican Senator Tim Scott an Oreo on Twitter in 2021, he had to resign. No one expects Pirro to face any repercussions for her statement. I similarly don’t expect Harold Ford Jr, to quit as a matter of honor.

I once promised not to keep criticizing Ford Jr to a college classmate who was a family member of the Fords. I’d kept that promise for several years but couldn’t let this pass. Maybe Harold will decide he won’t let it pass, either. Then again, it may be an indication he’s accomplished what he’s worked at all of his life. Being acceptable to white folks. I’ll keep hope alive.

This post originally appeared on Medium and is edited and republished with author's permission. Read more of William Spivey's work on Medium. And if you dig his words, buy the man a coffee.