Jeanine Pirro Absent on Fox News as Trump Calls on Network to 'Bring Back' Host Amid Controversy
Jeanine Pirro was previously rebuked by Fox News after questioning whether Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar held anti-Constitutional beliefs due to her religion
Jeanine Pirro’s weekly Fox News show didn’t air on Saturday night, as the network replaced Justice with Judge Jeanine with a repeat of the docuseries Scandalous: The Trial of William Kennedy Smith.
The switch happened one week after Pirro, 67, was rebuked by the network after she questioned whether Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, 37, held anti-Constitutional beliefs due to her religion.
According to CNN, a source said Pirro had been suspended following her Islamophobic comments, but a Fox News spokesperson tells PEOPLE, “We’re not commenting on internal scheduling matters.”
The spokesperson did not indicate when Pirro — whom PEOPLE was not able to immediately reach for comment — is expected to return to her program.
Although Pirro has yet to comment on the matter — and hasn’t tweeted since last weekend — President Donald Trump, 72, has come to the television host’s defense.
In a series of tweets shared on Sunday, Trump implored Fox News to reinstate Pirro.
“Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well,” he wrote.
“Fox must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die!” he added in a series of separate tweets. “Stay true to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker [Carlson], and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”
The controversy was set off by the opening statement of Pirro’s Saturday night show last week. In the segment, she recapped recent allegations of anti-Semitism against Omar, a freshman representative from Minnesota and former Somali refugee who is a detractor of Israel’s conservative government.
Omar implied in a tweet last month that support for Israel was based on money — an anti-Semitic trope which she said was unintentionally invoked.
Many spoke out against Omar’s comments — including Chelsea Clinton, whose censure of Omar prompted a group of students to confront her at a vigil on Friday, accusing the former first daughter of having “stoked” hatred against Muslims and thus making her partly responsible for the New Zealand mosque shootings.
Omar went on to issue an apology, writing, “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. … We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
“At the same time,” she continued, “I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics.”
In a much earlier tweet, from 2012, Omar wrote that Israel had “hypnotized the world.” In January, she acknowledged this was “unknowingly” offensive.
But, she tweeted, “It is important to distinguish between criticizing a military action by a government and attacking a particular people of faith. I will not shy away of criticism of any government when I see injustice.”
It was against this backdrop that Pirro attacked Omar as an “unrepentant” and hateful anti-Semite during the opening of her Saturday show. But such sentiments were not because Omar was a Democratic politician, she said.
“If it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from?” Pirro said. “Think about it: Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran … tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law [or Islamic law], which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show lost at least four corporate advertisers amid the backlash.
RELATED VIDEO: Whoopi Goldberg Gets Into a Screaming Match with Fox News’ Judge Jeanine Pirro on The View
Pirro’s remarks were quickly denounced.
“Can you stop spreading this false narrative that somehow Muslims hate America or women who wear a hijab aren’t American enough?” Fox News associate producer Hufsa Kamal tweeted. “You have Muslims working at the same network you do, including myself.”
In a statement, the network said: “We strongly condemn Jeanine Pirro’s comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar. They do not reflect those of the network and we have addressed the matter with her directly.”
In a statement of her own, Pirro said her “intention was to ask a question and start a debate, but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the Constitution.”
“I’ve seen a lot of comments about my opening statement from Saturday night’s show and I did not call Rep. Omar un-American. … I invite Rep. Omar to come on my show any time to discuss all of the important issues facing America today,” Pirro said.
In a brief tweet on Monday, Omar shared her gratitude with Fox News for its response.
“Thank you, @FoxNews,” she wrote. “No one’s commitment to our constitution should be questioned because of their faith or country of birth.”