King was leading his “Inside Politics” panel discussion about the second lady's teaching gig at a Virginia school that does not permit gay men and lesbians to be teachers, and Vice President Pence's recent comments that criticism of Christianity is offensive, when the host raised eyebrows.
“Does it matter that all taxpayers pay for housing? All taxpayers pay for her Secret Service protection? It’s not her fault that she needs protection, this is the world we live in. But all taxpayers pay for, subsidize her life,” King said before asking, “Does it matter?”
SiriusXM correspondent Olivier Knox appeared confused by the question.
Knox responded after a noticeable pause, “Do her First Amendment freedoms get curtailed [because] taxpayers pay for her accommodations and her security? I don’t know that a lot of people would sign on to that.”
King then said "everything is fair debate" because "we live in a democracy," before wrapping up the segment. NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck told Fox News that King's defense was “absolutely ludicrous.”
“It's about the very security of the Second Family and suggesting that there should be any kind of debate about it being taken away just because of not only what they believe, but what they believe when it comes to faith is disgusting and emblematic of the broader media disdain for Christians who aren't socially liberal,” Houck said. “The attacks on the Pence family and Judeo-Christians needs to stop.”
King’s question quickly circulated on social media with users reminding the CNN anchor that groups such as Planned Parenthood are also funded by taxpayers.
Pence began working in the classroom at Immanuel Christian School in Northern Virginia on Tuesday and will teach art to elementary school students twice a week until May. She had taught for 25 years, including previously at Immanuel Christian, until her husband, Vice President Mike Pence, became governor of Indiana in 2013.
Immanuel Christian’s employment application lists "homosexual or lesbian sexual activity" as among the criteria that violate the job qualifications spelled out for employees.
A spokeswoman for Mrs. Pence recently defended her return to the school where she had taught for a dozen years.
"It's absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school's religious beliefs, are under attack," Kara Brooks said.
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly contributed to this report.