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After a heated debate on Sunday, Fox News is distancing itself from a racist remark made by its paid contributor, David Bossie.

Bossie was having a discussion on Fox & Friends with Democratic analyst Joel Payne, during a conversation on immigration. The two were reacting to comments made by former CIA director Michael Hayden who compared the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy with Nazi separating families at concentration camps.

“That liberal Michael Hayden, that screaming liberal Michael Hayden,” Payne said.

“You’re out of your cotton-picking mind,” Bossie responded.

Payne, immediately taking offense, responded, “Cotton-picking mind? Brother let me tell you something, I got some relatives who picked cotton and I’m not going to sit back and let you attack me on TV like that.”

At that point moderator Ed Henry cut in and after a commercial, Fox News “and this show, myself,” do not agree “with that particular phrase.”

Bossie is a veteran conservative activist and was a deputy campaign manager on the Trump campaign. He also served as deputy director of Trump’s transition team. He tweeted an apology a couple of hours after the segment.

“During a heated segment on Fox & Friends today, I should have chosen my words more carefully and never used the offensive phrase that I did. I apologize to Joel Payne, Fox News, and its viewers,” he tweeted.

In an interview with MSNBC, Payne said he accepted the apology in Bossie’s tweet but said his comments have prompted frustration.

“My namesake is my great-grandfather, who was a sharecropper,” Payne said. “I took that very seriously. Our family and people like us have worked very hard to come up over the years. And so, to have someone kind of reduce our experience and try to make light of that experience — which I imagine Mr. Bossie was doing — that was offensive and that was unacceptable to me.”

A Fox News spokesperson delivered a statement, reading: “David Bossie’s comments today were deeply offensive and wholly inappropriate. His remarks do not reflect the sentiments of FOX News and we do not in any way condone them.”

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