MSNBC Panel Claims GOP Haven’t Done Enough to Denounce Donald Trump Thanks to Racism

While his MSNBC show PoliticsNation now resides on Sunday mornings at 8:00 a.m. Eastern, Al Sharpton has still been doing his best to accuse conservatives of racism at every turn and this Sunday’s edition was no different as he and his assembled panelists claimed that the right has done little to nothing to distance itself from Donald Trump. 

Of course, the cast of characters made no attempt to play soundbites or quote the litany of denouncements ranging from Senator Marco Rubio expressing his dismay and fear that the violence at Trump’s rallies may worsen to fellow Senator Ted Cruz to Jeb Bush to former President George W. Bush and on and on. 

Nonetheless, Time magazine’s Jay Newton-Small lectured the audience that the GOP has been embracing racism and division for years that’s only now boiled to the surface:

[T]he Republican Party for years has been sort of stroking — stoking this anger amongst the base and a lot of it is racial, some of it is economic, some of it is, you know, political, as well, but I mean, this anger that they have courted and they've really sought out and you've seen it not just in this election but in elections past[.]

After Newton-Small made an analogy about the party riding a bull that they’re now unable to control, Sharpton turned to Democratic strategist Angela Rye and complained that “we've not really heard Republicans very aggressively denounce this” and with the exception of John McCain, “[t]hey have seemingly allowed this to fester, and here we are.”

Rye obviously agreed and mentioned portions of Trump’s checkered past (and not Sharpton’s even more abhorrent yesteryears) before suggesting that: “[T]he party also has to say they have to be accountable for this type of violence, this type of bigotry, and this type of racism. It's time to call it what it is.”

Sharpton poured it on even more as he brought on the lone Republican in former Bush/Cheney official Robert Traynham to perpetuate the myth that Republicans haven’t batted an eye at Trump’s rallies, rhetoric, or plans for America:

Robert, where's the leadership? I'm not talking about in reaching across the aisle to let's find common ground on legislation, but I'm talking about when you have people questioning the birthplace of a President that clearly was born where he was born. When you have people at rallies talking about go back to Africa, when you're calling Mexicans rapists, when you say Islam hates America. Where's the leadership denouncing this, Robert? 

Traynham appropriate highlighted the numerous times Speaker Paul Ryan has directly addressed and denounced Trump, but somehow also credited Sharpton for being right: “I don't disagree with you, Rev. I mean, we've been pretty quiet on the Republican side. Unfortunately on this issue.”

Sharpton acknowledged the times that Ryan and MSNBC political analyst/former RNC chair Michael Steele has called out Trump, but fired back by claiming that it’s “too late as they allowed this to grow because we’re talking about this birther movement for years.”

Rye received the final words of the segment and she used the chance to argue that Steele’s firing in 2011 was due to racism being a key tenet of the party:

[T]hey're speaking out of both sides of their mouth. So the same Michael Steele that they're putting out now is the same Michael Steele that the party fired, I think it had everything to do with his blackness. This is the same party who Robert just mentioned Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio, in that same press conference, said this was also President Obama's fault. If you're speaking out of both sides of your mouth that's not real leadership and is also very confusing to a very angry base. 

The relevant portion of the transcript from MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with Reverend Al Sharpton on March 13 can be found below.

MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with Reverend Al Sharpton
March 13, 2016
8:47 a.m. Eastern

SHARPTON: So, Jay, I mean, go back to Africa is not reaching across the aisle for some bipartisan unity. 

JAY NEWTON-SMALL: No, Reverend Sharpton, indeed. This is — I mean, look, the Republican Party for years has been sort of stroking — stoking this anger amongst the base and a lot of it is racial, some of it is economic, some of it is, you know, political, as well, but I mean, this anger that they have courted and they've really sought out and you've seen it not just in this election but in elections past, it's sort of like — it’s sort of bull that they've been riding and they rode the bull to some success. They got the championship, their eight seconds on the bull and they got the House of Representatives and the Senate but it's a little bit of a Faustian bargain because now that you've ridden the bull, you’ve fallen off the bull and you're still in the ring with this bull that's enraged, and really angry, and it's going to take it out on somebody. It's going to kill somebody and you're trapped in this ring with this bull and I think it's sort of a really bad deal that they've made and you know, we'll see what happens here. But the fact of the matter is that Donald Trump is their party's frontrunner and the fact that none of the establishment really likes that or really wants to see it is really something of their own making. 

SHARPTON: And Angela, we've not really heard Republicans very aggressively denounce this. You know, I had a lot of disagreements with the McCain/Palin campaign. But McCain did eventually take a very firm stance and say wait a minute, you can't do this. They have seemingly allowed this to fester, and here we are. 

ANGELA RYE: Yes, here we are and I think most interesting to me is that so many people say, well Donald Trump doesn't really believe this. He's going to change his tune when it comes time for the general. Donald Trump — Donald Trump and you probably know this better than me, but his history is rooted in this. This didn't start with him calling President Obama a Muslim or him stoking the birther movement that it already really started in and he just became the spokesperson or him calling for the President's Harvard transcripts. This started with a full page ad of the Central Park Five. Before that, it started with his housing discrimination case for violating the Fair Housing Act when he built his apartment building in the '70s. So these are the types of things that exist that that make up the very foundation of who Donald Trump is, and so we shouldn't be surprised, not only by the rhetoric, but the party also has to say they have to be accountable for this type of violence, this type of bigotry, and this type of racism. It's time to call it what it is. 

SHARPTON: Robert, where's the leadership? I'm not talking about in reaching across the aisle to let's find common ground on legislation, but I'm talking about when you have people questioning the birthplace of a President that clearly was born where he was born. When you have people at rallies talking about go back to Africa, when you're calling Mexicans rapists, when you say Islam hates America. Where's the leadership denouncing this, Robert? 

ROBERT TRAYNHAM: I don't disagree with you, Rev. I mean, we've been pretty quiet on the Republican side. Unfortunately on this issue. But let me go back because I think this is very, very important. You have Paul Ryan who came out just two weeks ago. He did a national press conference denouncing Donald Trump and the KKK. I hope you have that tape because he was very clear about that. You have Michael Steele the former chair of the Republican Party also speaking about this. I have been on this network for many months speaking out against this. So you have some people — you also have, quite frankly, Marco Rubio much to his chagrin, who obviously went out with this. You also have Jeb Bush who also was talking about this back in August during the whole entire comments about Donald Trump with the Mexican-Americans. So there have been some Republican establishment individuals who were running for president, who are running for president, who are currently in House leadership who have said enough is enough, Donald Trump. This is not the Republican Party, you don't speak for us, cut it out, or dial it back. So there have been some leadership to be completely fair. 

SHARPTON: Michael Steele was on the show last week here, and did — and Paul Ryan did make a strong statement, but is it too late as they allowed this to grow, because we're talking about this birther movement for years?

RYE: Yes, and they're speaking out of both sides of their mouth. So the same Michael Steele that they're putting out now is the same Michael Steele that the party fired, I think it had everything to do with his blackness. This is the same party who Robert just mentioned Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio, in that same press conference, said this was also President Obama's fault. If you're speaking out of both sides of your mouth that's not real leadership and is also very confusing to a very angry base. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center