Martin, 17, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman last February. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder, and he denied the charges, claiming he acted in self defense.
He was acquitted this past weekend in a verdict which has led to nationwide demonstrations and vigils.
During impromptu remarks before the White House press corps on Friday, the president said he felt “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago.”
“Now the president’s saying Trayvon could’ve been me 35 years ago,” Hannity said on his radio show. “This is a particularly helpful comment. Is that the president admitting that I guess because what, he was part of the Choom Gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow — I’m not sure how to interpret because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night.”
Hannity’s references to past drug use by the president are drawn from confessions he made in his own best-selling autobiography Dreams From My Father. Martin was said to have had traces of marijuana in his system when died.
The Fox News host unintentionally became a key figure in the prosecution’s case against Zimmerman. Clips from an interview he conducted with Zimmerman were frequently cited to show inconsistencies in the Trayvon Martin shooter’s story.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Hannity was far from the only conservative pundit to attack the president’s remarks on the Martin case.
“President Obama is now our Race-Baiter in Chief,” Fox News contributor Todd Starnes wrote on Facebook. “His remarks today on the Trayvon Martin tragedy are beyond reprehensible.”
However, the president also received a lot of praise for his candor and nuance.
For instance, Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin said they were “moved” by the president’s off-the-cuff comments.
“What touches people is that our son, Trayvon Benjamin Martin, could have been their son. President Obama sees himself in Trayvon and identifies with him. This is a beautiful tribute to our boy,” they wrote in a statement.
Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Fox News anchor Chris Wallace accused President Obama of stoking racial tensions.