A young boy with autism who asked Vice President Mike Pence to apologize for accidentally “bopping” him on the nose became the target of Fox News hosts during a recent segment.
After a video of the moment from an event for military families went viral, Fox News’ Bill Hemmer and Tammy Bruce criticized the 10-year-old boy, Michael, during Friday’s airing of Tucker Carlson Tonight, suggesting that he was entitled.
“Kids these days, they’re telling the parents what to do, they’re telling the teachers what to do, and I guess now they’re telling the vice president what to do,” began Hemmer, who was guest hosting the show.
“The 8-year-old pretty much stalked the vice president afterwards. He wasn’t even — the headlines said he was ‘hit, he was struck, he was smashed, he was bumped,’ ” Bruce said. “The fabric on his sleeve touched his nose maybe. He stalks the vice president, says, ‘You owe me an apology’… This is crazy. Now look, he’s seen it either on television, maybe he’s seen it at home perhaps, but he felt aggrieved.”
Added Bruce: “I guess we’re giving birth to snowflakes now because that looked like that kid needed a safe space in that room.”
During an appearance later on CNN’s The Lead, the boy’s mother, Dr. Ingrid Herrera-Yee, revealed that her son, Michael, is on the autism spectrum and has only been verbal for five years.
“Michael is 10 years old. He is on the autism spectrum. He’s a military child. And he loves the White House,” his mother explained to Jake Tapper.
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His interaction with the vice president was “not meant in any sort of negative way,” she continued. “Just him learning social interaction with someone else. What is appropriate and what isn’t.” She added that the vice president was “wonderful” in dealing with Michael.
But when she saw the Fox News segment on her son, “I was devastated,” she said. “And when I saw what they were saying, people who … they didn’t even know his age. They didn’t know who he was, but really taking out of context, a really innocent interchange between the vice president and my son.”
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Herrera-Yee asked Fox News to apologize for featuring her son “out of context” and implored them: “Please don’t use kids. Whether they’re typically developing kids — it doesn’t matter that he’s autistic or a military kid. Forget all that. He’s a kid. And you don’t use children as examples on national television like that.”
On Tuesday, Herrera-Yee finally received the apology she was looking for as Fox News aired a “word of apology” from Bruce.
“First of all, I am so sorry to the family. My intention was never to hurt a kid and his mom,” she said. “We had absolutely no idea that Michael was on the autism spectrum and, as a gay woman and feminist, I’ve spent my adult life working to improve the lives of women and children and those who are disenfranchised. I get it and I apologize. I also appreciated the boy’s mother’s public comments and clarity on this. A main lesson here, no matter intent, is to leave kids out of our political discussions. We certainly agree on this.”
“And thank you to the family involved and thank you for your service,” Hemmer added.