Appearing as a guest on MSNBC Live Saturday afternoon to discuss the aftermath of the release of a recording of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump making lewd comments about women from 2005, Jason Johnson of The Root made his latest over the top claim that Trump has a history of making "explicit overtures" to the Ku Klux Klan, going on to claim that such actions by Trump accounted for "part of his popularity."
At about 5:55 p.m. ET, former Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth defended Republican voters who supported Trump for the nomination by arguing that they were voting based on economic concerns. Host Ari Melber jumped in to suggest they were actually motivated by racism. Melber:
You're putting forward a theory as if it's a fact. I mean, Jason, there is a theory that he tapped into economic anxiety, which is a big issue. That is a theory. There is also a theory that he tapped into racial resentment, that he tapped into opinions on women that are retrograde that are the issue today that, Jason, there's a lot of different animating principles that one could test that drove Donald Trump's victory in a plurality of the Republican primary.
Johnson, who has a history of trying to connect Republicans to the KKK, accepted the opportunity to do so again:
Exactly. I mean, look, if you wanted somebody to speak for working class voters, you could have voted for John Kasich, you could have voted for Rick Santorum, you could have voted for tons of other candidates who spoke to the economic difficulties that Americans are experiencing every day. But not one of the other Republicans made such explicit overtures and tacit overtures to terrorists organizations like the Klan to offering policies to build walls.
Hayworth began to jump in: "That's not the reason he-"
Johnson, mistakenly believing she was arguing that the KKK was not a terrorist organization, responded: "The Klan is a terrorist organization! Those are the things that Donald Trump did."
Melber clarified: "She was saying she doesn't think that's the reason," and Hayworth repeated, "No, that's not the reason he has support."
But Johnson reiterated: "That is part of his popularity."