IRELAND'S NATIONAL broadcaster has been criticised after one of its commentators for the Biden inauguration called the President and Vice President 'frauds' during the live coverage of the event.
RTÉ had invited James Conner of Republicans Overseas to join them in their live coverage of the Biden/Harris inauguration in Washington DC yesterday, 20 January, in a panel which also included US correspondent Brian O'Donovan and in-studio presenter Catriona Perry.
Conner was invited on to the panel despite a controversial appearance on the Today programme two weeks ago, where he suggested 'antifa' may have been responsible for the riots at the Capitol rather than Trump supporters.
During the live coverage of the event, after Biden and Harris had been sworn in, the Republicans Overseas member questioned how Biden would unify the country when Congress wanted to 'reprogram' people and 'track down Trump supporters'.
He accused the Biden administration of "race-baiting" and sowing further division.
"Hey, there you have it," he said. "Two frauds just got sworn in, one a bona-fide criminal."
Presenter Catriona Perry interrupted Conner, stating "We don't have evidence of that, James, here so we can't go down that road", while Conner replied "Sure we do".
The clip quickly found its way to social media, where many criticised RTÉ for inviting Conner on to the air, particularly after he had apparently denied that Trump supporters had stormed the Capitol on 6 January in a live appearance weeks earlier.
Well-known Irish entertainer Panti Bliss said they were "absolutely f***ing embarrassed for [RTÉ] today," adding "It's important to note they've had this loon on before and he did similar, so the opprobrium is totally deserved."
TD Paul Murphy of Rise said it was "incredible that after James Conner falsely blamed Antifa for the Trumpist attack on the Capitol that RTÉ decided he should be invited again to comment on the inauguration."