Co-host of Fox News’ “The Five” Juan Williams said on Monday that the coronavirus, racial rage, and economic collapse are all coming together, echoing a similar political climate during the era of the Vietnam war.
“I think it’s unbelievable and, at the moment, the ability of people to speak out and that the rage that we’re seeing on the streets is an indication of how on edge we are as an American people at this moment,” Williams told “America’s Newsroom.”
Williams highlighted the coronavirus pandemic that killed thousands of Americans, the wave of unemployment as a result of the pandemic, and the death of African-Americans Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor.
“This is not only a virus and pent-up rage, and racial rage, it is all together in one moment.”
Chaos broke out in several major U.S. cities on Sunday night as rioters hijacked what had been peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Among the turmoil: Fires lit near the White House, including at St. John’s Church just a short walk away; rioters clashing with police in New York City; and the Los Angeles County sheriff saying people still out on the streets were “acting like terrorists.”
Williams doubled down on his comments on Sunday when he argued that the national outrage sparked by the death of George Floyd is complex and multifaceted. Williams told Fox News’ Bret Baier that there are “three levels” of frustration felt by protesters around the country.
Williams said that due to the upcoming presidential election, “politics” has to be factored into the “bonfire of tensions and fears.”
Williams compared the current climate to the Vietnam War era in 1968.
“I think one of the realities of that moment was you had the anti-war protests in Vietnam on top of the racial tensions at that moment,” Williams said.
“Here, at this moment, it is interesting. You have social media playing a much larger role. You have in Chicago back in 1968, you had some of the anti-war protestors who were white. Here, in this moment, you have young people in a racially mixed group coming and leading so many of these demonstrations. I’ve seen that here in D.C.”
Williams said that the multi-racial generation is “representative of so much of the tensions in the country at this moment.”
In terms of rioting, Williams said that rioting has historically had a “negative impact on advancing social justice.”