CNN's Henderson: Trump's 'Law & Order' Has 'Racist Undertone,' Election 'All About Race'

July 26th, 2016 5:16 PM

Appearing as a panel member on Tuesday's special edition of Inside Politics, CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson warned that "a lot of people" believe that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's invocation of "law and order" has a "racist undertone." Moments later, she went on to assert that the election is "all about race in a lot of ways," before backing off slightly by adding that "at least a lot of people think that."

At about 12:45 p.m. ET, during a discussion of Donald Trump making an issue of crime, host John King posed: 

But is there a risk for the Democrats that if you say, "No, Trump, you're wrong, this is about compassion, this is about criminal justice reform, this is about sitting the police down with people in the community and figuring out how to make this work," could Trump come back and say, "You're not tough enough"?

Henderson began: 

Yeah, absolutely, and that's what he's doing. And that's why you see those numbers moving in his favor. I think, to a lot of people, the phrase "law and order" has sort of a racist undertone. Even Richard Nixon, when he mentioned it in his 1968 speech, he say, you know, "I know that a lot of people think that it's a sort of a racist term." It also in some ways I think turns off libertarians. It's kind of a specter of a police state.

The CNN correspondent then added:

But, listen, this is a tricky thing. Anytime you're dealing with race, and this contest is all about race in a lot of ways -- at least a lot of people think that. A lot of fear that some people have is fear of Trump. I mean, I've talked to a lot of African-Americans who say they fear what kind of country we would have if Donald Trump were the nominee. But, on the other hand, I think Donald Trump is playing into a different kind of fear. So it's a tricky line they've got to balance.