Bill O'Reilly: Slaves Built White House, but Were 'Well Fed'

He fact-checks Michelle Obama's speech
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2016 2:33 AM CDT
Updated Jul 27, 2016 6:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – In her convention speech Monday night, Michelle Obama told the crowd, "I wake up every morning in a house built by slaves." At Fox News, Bill O'Reilly provided a fact-check Tuesday and found that the first lady was correct—but he added a qualification that is raising eyebrows, notes Politico. "Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802," he said. "However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well."

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USA Today rounds up some of the quick online reaction, much of it along the lines of this tweet: "Did Bill O'Reilly really just say while slaves were building the White House they were fed well? Does that make it OK?" O'Reilly added that "free blacks, whites, and immigrants also worked on the massive building. There were no illegal immigrants at that time. If you could make it here, you could stay here.” (The Fox anchor is the author of some best-selling history books.)

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