Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's CNN Newsroom, CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson claimed that the Republican party has been "playing the race card" for "many decades" as she commented on Republican reaction to President Donald Trump's recent comments in which he seemed to give cover to white racist rally participants in Charlottesville.
At 9:08 a.m. ET, after recounting Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio's reaction to Trump's comments, Henderson continued:
I think you have Republicans who are going to have to figure out what they're going to do with this President. I mean, they obviously like his agenda, and they have to figure out whether or not backing that agenda ultimately means that they are going to be standing beside a President who in word seems to have some sympathies for white supremacists. That's a major, major thing for them and the Republican party.
She then added:
Remember, the Republican Party has tried to get away from that. I think they're going to have to do some soul-searching in terms of their own history of kind of playing the race card, racial polarization through these last many decades. And Donald Trump is just the most, I think, egregious outgrowth of what we've seen from Republicans for many decades.
A bit later, she fretted over conservatives supporting increased border security without acknowledging there are legitimate, non-racist reasons for wanting to see better security:
I think we also forget the ways in which Donald Trump's presidency was in some ways based on racial resentment and racial grievance politics -- this idea of building a wall, this idea of banning Muslims from certain countries, this idea of deporting illegal immigrants. Remember, when he announced, he talked about Mexicans as rapists. I mean, you know, I think we talk about sort of the economic piece of it -- there's also a cultural nationalist piece as well.