Fox News Hosts Spar Over Iran Drone Strike: 'You, like Lindsey Graham, Have Never Met a War You Didn't Like'

Fox News hosts Geraldo Rivera and Brian Kilmeade debated President Donald Trump's Iran drone strike, culminating in Rivera telling Kilmeade, "You, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like."

Geraldo: Don't for a minute start cheering this on, what we have done, what we have unleashed --

Kilmeade: I will cheer it on. I am elated.

Geraldo: Then you, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like.

Kilmeade: That is not true, don't even say that.

— Lis Power (@LisPower1) January 3, 2020

On Thursday, Trump ordered a U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps—Quds Force. In a tweet on Friday, Trump wrote that Soleimani "should have been taken out many years ago."

On Fox News, Rivera said that this conflict should have ended when the two-day siege of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad did. As previously reported, a group of mostly young men protested the Pentagon's targeting of positions of Kataib Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Shiite Muslim militia. "When the de-escalation at the embassy happened a couple of days ago, that was the end of this chapter," Rivera said. "The United States, with its firmness, had won the victory."

Rivera stated that this should not have escalated to the heights of other conflicts. "It wasn't going to be Benghazi; it wasn't going to be Tehran from 1980," he said. "We won that technical victory. Now, we have taken this huge military escalation."

Rivera said that he "fear[ed] the worst," after Soleimani's death. "You're going to see the U.S. markets go crazy today. You're going to see the price of oil spiking today," he predicted. "This is a very big deal."

Kilmeade interjected that killing Soleimani was not "about his résumé of blood and death" but rather "what was next." "We stopped the next attack," Kilmeade pointed out. When Rivera asked what source could predict when the next attack was, Kilmeade responded that "the secretary of state and American intelligence provided that material."

Rivera cited the U.S.'s 2003 Iraq invasion as an indication of the U.S. intelligence's incompetency. "The U.S. intelligence has been excellent since 2003, when we invaded Iraq, disrupted the entire region for no real reason," he said. He also warned Kilmeade not to cheer this on. "I will cheer this on. I'm elated," Kilmeade responded.

The two hosts heated up after Rivera's Graham comment. "If President Trump wanted de-escalation and to bring our troops home, what this was a reaction to—" Rivera began, before Kilmeade cut him off. "What about the 700 Americans that are dead?" Kilmeade asked. "Should they now be happy?"

"What about the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died since 2003?" Rivera responded. "What the hell are we doing in Baghdad in the first place? Why are we there? Why aren't these forces home?"

Rivera also said that he blames former President George W. Bush for "the con job that drove us into that war."

Host Steve Doocy jumped in to mediate the dispute. "Geraldo, I think there's a disagreement here at the desk on all of that," he said.

When asked for comment, Fox News pointed to Rivera's appearance on Fox News Radio's The Brian Kilmeade Show, where Rivera apologized to Kilmeade for their on-air disagreement. "My wife, Erica, called and said I was mean in speaking with you on Fox & Friends. And she said the first thing you do when you talk to Brian or you see him next is apologize. I apologize," Rivera told Kilmeade on the radio show. "You know I didn't mean anything personally. You know I'm your biggest fan in this building and in this town. I think you really have a total grasp on issues that is profoundly securing, you know reaffirming, reassuring for us. I just disagree with you on this issue of killing Soleimani. I disagree with what the president did."

Kilmeade accepted Rivera's apology. "Geraldo, no problem. I know it's never personal," Kilmeade said. "We had an argument on the air. If you missed it on Fox & Friends this morning, which I don't know why you would ever miss the show. Geraldo agrees with Tulsi Gabbard and says that the American forces should not have taken out Soleimani."

Qassem Soleimani
The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, General Qassem Soleimani, attends celebrations marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on February 11, 2016 in Tehran. Soleimani was killed in a drone strike on Thursday. STR/AFP/Getty