Barack Obama Reportedly Disliked Fox News' Geraldo Rivera Even More Than We Knew

Over the years, Geraldo Rivera has been pro-Barack Obama and one of his most vocal critics. On the other hand, Obama has kept his opinions on Rivera private, just as he did concerning his tumultuous relationship with his Republican brother, Malik Obama, despite Malik taking every opportunity to slander him.

Consequently, many assumed that Obama didn't feel as strongly towards Rivera. But on July 31, 2023, lawyer Alan Dershowitz appeared on "The Charlie Kirk Show" and gave insight into how the former president felt about the conservative reporter. Dershowitz revealed he had invited Obama to his 75th birthday in 2013. The father of two acknowledged the invitation and promised to attend but made a 180-degree turn when he learned that Rivera would also be in attendance. Obama reportedly responded, "Unless you disinvite Geraldo Rivera, I'm not coming." Dershowitz refused to uninvite Rivera, and the 44th U.S. President hadn't attended his birthday celebration. 

Geraldo Rivera and Barack Obama feuded over Trayvon Martin

Geraldo Rivera and Barack Obama often had differing opinions, but one of their largest disagreements centered on Trayvon Martin. Martin was a 17-year-old African-American boy who was killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in 2012. Before Martin's death, Zimmerman reportedly called 911 about "a suspicious person" wearing a hoodie. Despite being advised not to approach the individual, Zimmerman did, and after a series of unconfirmed events, he shot Martin (per CNN).

When Obama spoke on the events, the effect of Martin's death on him was evident. "You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son" (via Obama White House Archives). He also shared his personal experiences with racism, recounting car owners locking their doors when he got close and sharing the elevator with a woman who held her belongings tightly. 

Conversely, Rivera held a completely different view of the situation. "I think the hoodie is much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was," he asserted on "Fox & Friends." He suggested that wearing a hoodie equated to dressing up as a "gangsta-wannabe" and prompted people to profile one as a threat. Furthermore, Rivera responded to Obama's comments via a post on X (formerly Twitter), "He could add, and he would never let his son walk around DC in a hoodie."

Barack Obama disliked Geraldo Rivera even before Trayvon Martin was killed

The Trayvon Martin case was one of Geraldo Rivera and Barack Obama's most public disagreements. However, Obama was no fan of Rivera, even before. In a 2010 interview with Entertainment Weekly, celebrating Rivera's 40th year as a reporter, he replied that Obama was the "most elusive" public figure to him. "He's been ducking me. I'm sure he's going to give the interview to the Dog-Food Channel before he gets around to me." 

Rivera's comments on Martin only escalated their feud, especially since he doubled down on his remarks. "No I don't retract a word of it because I'm concerned with saving kids' lives," he told Politico. His stance also caused a huge public backlash, even from his son. Rivera shared on X, "My own son just wrote to say he's ashamed of my position re hoodies." Rivera eventually offered a tepid apology to Politico for his "very practical and potentially life-saving campaign."

In October 2013, a few weeks after Alan Dershowitz's 75th birthday, Rivera condemned Obama's Affordable Care Act on his radio show. On his radio show, Rivera said, "I take no pleasure in reporting this because I'm rooting for this president to succeed, even though he's stuck-up, snobby, and everything else." Despite Rivera's insensitivity, his approach to political commentary frequently prioritizes his opinions over personal affiliations. This stance was evident in his criticism of Donald Trump for his anti-Mexican comments and involvement in the Capitol riot, despite Rivera and Donald Trump's relationship.