On Thursday's The Situation Room, CNN personalities were in overdrive throwing around accusations of racism toward Donald Trump's base of support within the Republican party during a panel discussion. Senior political analyst Jeffrey Toobin repeated the recurring charge that "law and order" represents "code words for cracking down on African-Americans," claimed Republicans are engaging in "voter suppression," and accused Trump's "base" of being "sick and tired of African-Americans trying to get political power in this country."
Correspondent Dana Bash voiced agreement with Toobin's assessment of the words "law and order," calling the expression "code" for "getting African-Americans," and Don Lemon accused Trump of "talking out of both sides of your mouth" for voicing support for stop-and-frisk because it "targets African-Americans" and "is illegal and unconstitutional."
At 6:38 p.m. ET, CNN host Wolf Blitzer brought up voting reforms made by the legislature in North Carolina as he turned to Toobin and posed:
As you know, the Republican-controlled legislature in North Carolina has passed laws that a lot of African-Americans see as racist, including a law that amounted to what they call "voter suppression" that was recently struck down, that law. There have been these sort of "Moral Monday" protests in North Carolina to protest these measures. So how does that overall environment play into the protests, the street protests that we've seen in Charlotte over the past couple of nights?
The CNN legal analyst started hurling accusations of racism as he began:
It's a deeply polarized state along racial as well as political lines. And I'd just like to question the premise of how we're analyzing Trump's last couple of statements. I don't think he's trying to appeal to African-Americans at all. I mean, the whole idea of "law and order" is a code word for cracking down on African-Americans. I mean, it has been since 1968.
He then added:
If you look at how he's talked about African-Americans, of course starting with President Obama, and embracing the kind of voter suppression laws that have been passed in North Carolina, now somewhat overturned in the courts, but I think that all -- everything he's saying is designed to appeal to the base that is sick and tired of African-Americans trying to get political power in this country.
Moments later, Don Lemon complained:
To me, it's talking out of both sides of your mouth because you cannot appeal to African-Americans, especially with something that targets African-Americans and that is illegal and unconstitutional and then say things have never been worse when things have actually never been better. It does not make sense.
It was then Bash's turn to pile on with her assessment:
Yes, statistically, that doesn't make sense, but I can just say that I went to the campaign and asked them this very question: How do you square outreach to African-American voters with saying that there should be stop-and-frisk and those -- as you said, Jeffrey -- more law and order things on the book, which it has been historically code for going after African-Americans.
And the answer is: "It all squares because what he's trying to -- the point he's trying to get across is that African-Americans should be open to this because he's trying to make their communities safer. I'm not defending it, I'm not explain -- I'm not, you know, saying that he's right. I'm just saying that this is the argument that he's laying out...