A lawyer for PBS has been fired after being caught saying the children of President Donald Trump's supporters should be sent to "re-education camps." Michael Beller, a contracts lawyer in PBS' general counsel office, had his position with the news agency terminated after Project Veritas published a video in which he offered up political opinions, including a remark in which he described the president as "close to Hitler."
Released Tuesday, the video began with Beller stating, "even if Biden wins, we go for all the Republican voters, and Homeland Security will take their children away. And we'll put them into re-education camps," according to Bounding Into Comics. In another moment, Beller can be heard stating, "in these times, which are unique, I mean, Trump is close to Hitler." In another fragmented clip, Beller appears to be responding to a question about Joe Biden losing the election, stating that should he not win, people should "go to the White House and throw Molotov cocktails."
Throughout the recording, Beller is also heard speaking about the children of the president's supporters, suggesting they be sent to "re-education camps." He says, "kids who are growing up, knowing nothing but Trump, for four years, you've got to wonder what they're going to be like. They'll be raising a generation of intolerant, horrible people – horrible kids." He then can be heard talking about "enlightenment camps," which he described as "nice," stating, "they have Sesame Street characters in the classrooms and they watch PBS all day."
Beller is also heard saying it was "great" that coronavirus cases were spiking in red states "because either those people won't come out to vote for Trump, you know the red states, or a lot of them are sick and dying." It is unclear when or where the video was recorded, and numerous outlet's efforts to reach Beller for comment went unanswered.
Following the release of the recording, PBS confirmed in a statement Tuesday that Beller was no longer employed with the news agency and condemned the rhetoric used. The statement read, "this employee no longer works for PBS. As a mid-level staff attorney, he did not speak on behalf of our organization, nor did he make any editorial decisions. There is no place for hateful rhetoric at PBS, and this individual's views in no way reflect our values or opinions." The statement added, "we strongly condemn violence and will continue to do what we have done for 50 years – use our national platform and local presence to strengthen communities and bring people together."