Country singer Hank Williams Jr. is retreating from comments he made Monday on Fox News’ Fox & Friends comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler. The longtime “Monday Night Football” singer issued a statement Monday afternoon in which he claims his remarks were “misunderstood.”
After Williams made his comments on Fox & Friends, ESPN said it would drop its traditional Monday Night Football opening song — sung by Williams — for the Indianapolis-Tampa Bay game on yesterday (Oct. 3).
“While Hank Williams Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football,” the network said in a statement. “We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight’s telecast.”
“Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood,” he said. “My analogy was extreme — but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me — how ludicrous that pairing was.”
The singer, talking to hosts Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade live via satellite from Nashville, got into a political discussion in which he called Speaker of the House John Boehner’s golf game with President Obama was “one of the biggest political mistakes ever.”
“It’s like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” he said.
The Fox News anchors seemed taken aback at Williams’ comment. Carlson wanted Williams to clarify, saying, “You used the name of one of the most hated people in all the world to describe, I think, the president.”
“That’s true,” Williams said. “But I’m telling you like it is.”
In his statement, Williams said the analogy wasn’t appropriate.
“They’re polar opposites, and it made no sense,” he said. “They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the president.”
But he did make a plea for change in Washington.
“Every time the media brings up the Tea Party, it’s painted as racist and extremists — but there’s never a backlash — no outrage to those comparisons,” he said. “Working-class people are hurting — and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares. When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job — it makes a whole lot of us angry. Something has to change. The policies have to change.”