Fox News host Tucker Carlson faced intense backlash Monday night after he argued that the nationwide unrest over racism and police brutality sparked by the death of George Floyd “is definitely not about black lives.”

Carlson’s comments came during a fiery monologue that kicked off his prime-time show Monday, following another day of large demonstrations in the wake of last month’s fatal incident in which Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. For roughly 25 minutes, Carlson criticized the Black Lives Matter movement and growing calls for cities to defund police departments or completely get rid of them.

“This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about black lives,” Carlson said. “Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will.

“Anyone who has ever been subjected to the rage of the mob knows the feeling,” he continued. “It’s like being swarmed by hornets. You cannot think clearly. And the temptation is to panic. But you can’t panic. You’ve got to keep your head and tell the truth. … If you show weakness of any kind, they will crush you.”

Carlson did not make clear during Monday’s broadcast whom he was referring to when he said “they,” leading critics online to suggest the host was, as one person put it, telling his audience “black people are coming to get you, white people.” A short clip of Carlson’s segment quickly went viral Monday night, prompting some to again urge advertisers to boycott his show.

A Fox News spokesperson clarified Carlson’s remarks Tuesday morning.

“Tucker’s warning about ‘when they come for you’ was clearly referring to Democratic leaders and inner city politicians,” the spokesperson told The Washington Post in an emailed statement.

On Monday, following a tumultuous weekend that saw more violent clashes between law enforcement and mostly peaceful demonstrators, Carlson launched into a recap of current events.

“America went insane over the weekend, that’s barely an overstatement,” he said.

The host was particularly irked by news that many local leaders nationwide are facing mounting pressure from protesters to slash funding for police departments or abolish them entirely. On Sunday, nine Minneapolis City Council members — a majority of the 12-person council — announced plans to disband the city’s police department. While they did not offer a timeline or specific actions, the council members said they are “taking intermediate steps toward ending” the force.

Carlson, who referred to the protests as the “Black Lives Matter riots,” expressed disbelief at the idea of dismantling entire police departments, telling viewers, “All of this probably strikes you as wild-eyed craziness, flat-earth stuff.”

He then argued the effort is largely supported by liberals who want to do away with traditional police forces because many officers are supportive of President Trump.

“Defund the police is a move toward authoritarian social control cloaked in the language of identity politics,” said Carlson, noting that if activists are successful it would probably result in a “woke militia policing our cities enforcing Democratic Party orthodoxy.”

“Imagine if the diversity and inclusion department at Brown University had the power to arrest you,” he added.

Carlson also denounced what he observed as fierce backlash targeting people who criticize or don’t overtly support the Black Lives Matter movement.

“You’re not allowed to question Black Lives Matter in any way. Full stop,” he said. “That rule has been enforced without mercy everywhere.”

The host went on to make his eyebrow-raising claim that the discontent consuming the country isn’t about black lives before issuing the warning to his viewers that “the mob” is probably coming for them.

“Truth is a defense, no matter what they’re telling you at this moment,” he said. “This moment will pass. … When it does, we will look back at what we just saw in horror and disbelief, but if you’re honest now, you will keep your dignity, and ultimately you will be very glad about that. Life is not worth living without it.”

Though Carlson’s Monday show was praised by some conservatives, a number of prominent public figures, including some celebrities, slammed the host for his inflammatory rhetoric.

“Tucker Carlson is a dangerous racist,” tweeted actor George Takei.

“Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi accused Carlson of “race-baiting.”

“In these uncertain times, we can always count on human bowtie @TuckerCarlson to take a quick break from sailboating in Maine to broadcast race-baiting filth into peoples’ parents’ living rooms, inciting fear and hatred of a civil rights movement,” Lakshmi tweeted.

Meanwhile, “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista called Carlson out for “preaching division.” The truth, Bautista argued on Twitter, is that “the mob” referenced by Carlson “is the MAJORITY of Americans who don’t want to be divided, don’t want racism, don’t want you.”