Cuomo Lets Guest Claim Trump 'Outsourced' Campaign to 'White Supremacist Groups'

On Friday's New Day on CNN, during a segment focused on the major presidential candidates both accusing each other of "bigotry," host Chris Cuomo failed to challenge Rep. Hakeem Jeffries when the New York Democrat claimed that GOP candidate Donald Trump "time and time again," has "sort of outsourced parts of his campaign to white supremacist groups."

Cuomo opened the segment lamenting generally the accusations of bigotry from both sides, and then posed to his guest: "This is terrible. It couldn't be more counterproductive. The question is, how can this in any way become something that is helpful to improving the situations in certain big-city impoverished communities?"

Rep. Jeffries made his claim about "white supremacist groups" being an "outsourced" part of Trump's campaign as he began:

Well, I think Hillary Clinton consistently would like to keep the campaign focused on issues of empowerment for all Americans, including the African-American community and other communities of color. But, time and time again, what we found is that Donald Trump has sort of outsourced parts of his campaign to white supremacist groups. He did that in the primary in very clear fashion, and he continued that pattern in the general election.

Although Cuomo repeatedly fretted during the segment that, by accusing Trump of bigotry, Hillary Clinton is failing to talk about how to solve the countries problems, he did not take the time to dispute the substance of Jeffries's incendiary suggestion that Trump depended on "white supremacist groups" to help campaign for him.

The CNN host's initial response to the Democratic Congressman's claim was to worry generally over Clinton accusing Trump of bigotry, rather than to respond specifically to Rep. Jeffries. Cuomo:

In fairness, we hear, Congressman, in this election I think especially so, which is one side does something that deserves to be criticized, and what they do is they deflect by saying, "Yeah, but what about this thing that he-?" We're seeing that right now. Hillary Clinton is beating Donald Trump with a big stick of being racist in his thoughts, racist in his politics.

She spent a lot of time doing it. This ad with this white nationalist, you know, the hooded fool that they have in that ad, she's doing the exact same thing. She's not talking policy. She's going at him personally and saying that what he does is bigoted. That's not productive -- that's not policy. Fair point?

Below is a transcript of the relevant portions of the Friday, August 26, New Day on CNN:

CHRIS CUOMO: Well, race has its place in the election now, to be sure, and you have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton fighting now about who is really the bigot. You have Clinton swiping at Trump, painting him as a man of a history with discrimination. Trump fighting back with insults, including outright calling Hillary Clinton a bigot. Is this helpful on any level? Let's bring in New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. He's the Congressional Black Caucus whip, and a Clinton supporter. ... I know the answers to these questions. Everybody does who's rational. This is terrible. It couldn't be more counterproductive. The question is, how can this in any way become something that is helpful to improving the situations in certain big-city impoverished communities?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Well, I think Hillary Clinton consistently would like to keep the campaign focused on issues of empowerment for all Americans, including the African-American community and other communities of color. But, time and time again, what we found is that Donald Trump has sort of outsourced parts of his campaign to white supremacist groups. He did that in the primary in very clear fashion, and he continued that pattern in the general election.

CUOMO: In fairness-

REP. JEFFRIES: And we can't ignore that.

CUOMO: -we hear, Congressman, in this election I think especially so, which is one side does something that deserves to be criticized, and what they do is they deflect by saying, "Yeah, but what about this thing that he-?" We're seeing that right now. Hillary Clinton is beating Donald Trump with a big stick of being racist in his thoughts, racist in his politics. She spent a lot of time doing it. This ad with this white nationalist, you know, the hooded fool that they have in that ad, she's doing the exact same thing. She's not talking policy. She's going at him personally and saying that what he does is bigoted. That's not productive -- that's not policy. Fair point?

[JEFFRIES]

What I'm saying is, you work in the community so actively all the time, and you're trying to be positive, you're trying to create policies that change some of these what seem to be hard to follow new realities in small and big cities of poverty realities. I can't believe that an African-American voter, hearing what's going on from Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, is motivated to vote. Am I wrong?

[JEFFRIES]

But "Who's the bigger bigot?" How does that make a black man or woman want to come out and vote?

REP. JEFFRIES: Well, I think it was irresponsible for Donald Trump to accuse Hillary Clinton of being a bigot, notwithstanding a long history-

CUOMO: She says what he says is bigoted, is racist -- right or wrong, I'm just saying that level of dialogue, how is that productive?

REP. JEFFRIES: But let's also put this in the context of what happened in terms of what started this discussion. Donald Trump made a very provocative speech in front of a 95 percent white community allegedly to African-Americans, labeling our community largely as impoverished, crime-ridden-

CUOMO: That you get shot walking down the street.

REP. JEFFRIES: -unemployed, get shot when you walk down the street. That is not the experience of the overwhelming majority of African-Americans who live both in inner city communities and the suburbs and throughout rural America, particularly in the Deep South. And so that is what jump started this conversation as it relates to, well, who has the better policies? And I agree with you, Chris, that ultimately the American people deserve a discussion of how do we deal with poverty, for instance, both in the inner city communities that I represent, but the overwhelming majority of persistently poor counties in this country actually are represented by Republicans who are white because they-

CUOMO: Deep South and a lot of Heartland legislatures.

REP JEFFRIES: -Appalachia and rural America.

CUOMO: I understand the facts. I'm not disputing them in this instance, but, you know what I hear from a lot of the Clinton surrogates is, "Why are you holding her to this higher standard than you're holding him? That's the basis of your campaign, Hakeem. You guys are saying, "He's unfit, she's fit, she knows how to lead." Why match tactics with him in this way? Why go back and forth about, you know, "Well, no, he's really a much bigger bigot than he could ever call me. Why not just hammer the policies and trust in the voters, especially African-American voters, to see through the BS of playing color politics?

[JEFFRIES]

I got stopped walking on the street. Just respond to this. A reverend stops me here in Manhattan and says, "The brothers and sisters aren't going to come out if this continues. They're not going to come out." And, you know, he just kept walking. Do you think there's a concern that this type of rhetoric will stifle that vote, keep it home because it just doesn't seem there's anything out there for them.

[JEFFRIES]

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