Deputy Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Marie Harf opened a can of political worms when she accused Bill O'Reilly of using "sexist" language when he criticized her superior's vague explanation on what the Obama administration is doing to challenge the Islamic State.
It began Wednesday when O'Reilly said State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki was "way out of her depth," and that it appears she does not have "the gravitas for that job," according to Politico.
Right on the heels of that comment, Harf came to her superior's rescue.
"@statedeptspox [Jen Psaki] explains foreign policy w/ intelligence & class," Harf tweeted Thursday. "Too bad we can't say the same about @oreillyfactor."
She also slammed O'Reilly at a Thursday State Department briefing for using "sexist, personally offensive language that I actually don't think they would ever use about a man."
Harf's spat comes as Iraqi government forces are fighting a seemingly futile battle against jihadists from the Islamic State, a mostly Sunni militant group that has beheaded two American journalists, seized entire towns and killed countless civilians ever since they declared a caliphate in late June.
Twitter users were quick to berate the "clownish" spokeswoman for attacking O'Reilly while all of Hades breaks loose in Iraq and Syria.
"In my lifetime we've never seen the world in more peril & USA in more danger, but @statedeptspox & @marieharf speak for us- WTF, Kerry?!?" tweeted reporter Cameron Gray.
Here is what some other users had to say:
— Chris (@Chris_1791) September 4, 2014
National security threats ranked @marieharf 1. Fox News 2. Twitter 3. Sugary Soda 4. Scott Walker 5. Biden 6. Biden. 7. Biden 8. ISIS — S.M (@redsteeze) September 4, 2014
— jon gabriel (@exjon) September 4, 2014
Super professional for an employee of the State Dept's PR team. She's a clown. @redsteeze — Kelly (@flyoverangel) September 4, 2014
O'Reilly, host of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox, who has previously criticized U.S. spokespersons both female and male, scoffed at his alleged bias against women.
"No I would never say that about a man would I?" the political commentator said Friday according to Politico. "Aw, not me! Picking on the ladies."
O'Reilly invited Harf and Psaki to appear on his show Friday night.