CNN Guest Suggests Trump 'Associates Himself with Terrorist' Groups 'Like the Klan'

Appearing as a panel member on Wednesday's CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, TheRoot.com political editor and Morgan State University professor Jason Johnson -- a recurring guest on CNN -- suggested that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump "continually associates himself with terrorist organizations like the Klan" as he responded to Trump's appearance at a black church in Ohio.

Johnson has a history of making incendiary accusations of racism against Republicans, and this past weekend appeared in a soundbite on the NBC Nightly News in which he cracked that Trump's base consists of "white voters, white voters, and white voters." TheRoot.com notably was acquired last year by Univision.

On CNN Newsroom, Johnson dismissed the pastor who hosted Trump as having "no credibility." After recalling the GOP presidential candidate's last two appearances at black churches, he continued:

He's now in a safe environment with a pastor who has no credibility locally, has no credibility throughout the region, and it's going to be a safe place for him to have a town hall and promote his agenda. But again, if we look at the numbers, it doesn't change anything. Donald Trump is still at zero, two percent in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

He then inserted a Ku Klux Klan reference as he added:

But I think this is part of his overall campaign to claim that I am a functional candidate, as opposed to someone who continually associates himself with terrorist organizations like the Klan.

Last February, in an appearance on CNN, Johnson not only repeated a discredited claim that Louisiana Republican Rep. Steve Scalise spoke to a white supremacist group in Louisiana in 2002, but he even gave the impression that Scalise spoke to the KKK "a couple of months" earlier, and suggested that the "Republican party" has "played footsy under the table with white supremacist groups."

Below are transcripts of relevant portions of the Wednesday, September 21, CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, and the Saturday, September 17, NBC Nightly News:

#CNN Newsroom:

10:15 a.m.
CAROL COSTELLO: And we should mention, Jason, that you are from Northeastern Ohio, you are from Cleveland, right? So you've spent a lot of time there, so you know what you're talking about. So why choose this event, do you think?

JASON JOHNSON, The Root: Well, the reason why is that Pastor Gerald Scott is the only place Trump can go. I mean, this is the thing, you know. There's not a lot of places where he's going to be welcome. And let's be clear -- we've seen -- this is now the third African-American church that Donald Trump has attended. The first one, there was hardly anybody in the room. The second one, he attempted to make a political speech and then cowered in fear because the pastor had the audacity to tell him to actually talk about the church instead of making it political.

He's now in a safe environment with a pastor who has no credibility locally, has no credibility throughout the region, and it's going to be a safe place for him to have a town hall and promote his agenda. But again, if we look at the numbers, it doesn't change anything. Donald Trump is still at zero, two percent in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. But I think this is part of his overall campaign to claim that I am a functional candidate, as opposed to someone who continually associates himself with terrorist organizations like the Klan.

(...)

#NBC Nightly News:

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Elizabeth Warren blasting Trump today in battleground Ohio.

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Donald Trump has more support from Aryan Nation and the KKK than he does from leaders of his own party.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): That is nothing more than racism.

TUR: Tonight, President Clinton and Obama, who campaign together, are in Washington speaking at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner, hoping to mobilize African-Americans, all while Trump counts on his own base.

JASON JOHNSON, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: Donald Trump's base are white voters, white voters, and white voters.

TUR: Both candidates now pushing buttons to secure their voters and grab at those who are still deciding who could determine the winner.

CyberAlerts Campaign Watch 2016 Presidential Conservatives & Republicans Race Issues Racism NBC NBC Nightly News CNN CNN Newsroom Video KKK Carol Costello Katy Tur Jason Johnson Donald Trump Steve Scalise