CNN’s Costello Tees Up Muslim-American Olympian to Trash Trump, White-Working Class Voters

On Monday morning’s CNN Newsroom, host Carol Costello trotted out Muslim-American Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad for an interview filled which allowed Muhammad to attack President-elect Donald Trump, explain why the country shouldn’t unite behind Trump and why white working class voters are foolish to think they’ve been left behind in today’s America.

When asked early in the segment by Costello if it’s “exaggerated” that the country is “intensely divided,” Muhammad pointed to the “significant increase in hate crimes” and “the bigoted rhetoric” as reasons for the partisan atmosphere even though she revealed that she’s not experienced discrimination since the election.

Costello followed up by asking: “I can hear many Trump supporters say, you know, it's time to just get over it. Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States. What would you say to them?”

Lacking any desire to discuss unifying the country, Muhammad replied:

When you have someone who sits in the seat of power who makes hateful statements about your race, about your religion, about your gender, it's hard for us to get over these things. It's hard for us to just say, okay, we accept it. That's not the America that I know.

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Concerning the plight of white working class Americans (e.g. those in Rust Belt states), Muhammad contended that “[i]t’s hard for me to believe that President-elect Trump has had the support of middle America, people who don't fall in the one percent who really can really stand behind someone who doesn’t have their best interests at heart.”

On that theme of white working class voters that delivered Trump the White House, Costello wondered: “What would you say to those people who think that minorities get everything at the expense of the white working class?”

“I think that's a laughable statement. It's difficult in this time to walk down the street as a woman, to walk down the street as a racial minority — as a religious minority and those aren't ideas that we just kind of pull out of thin air. That’s a reality of minorities and women in this country,” Muhammad complained. 

Costello concluded by presenting an argument that the media have failed to grasp which is that Trump “doesn't mean everything he says” and the anti-Israeli Olympian slammed the President-elect as a chief inciter of violence across the country and the reason scuffles have broken out at his rallies (even though evidence has proven otherwise):

When you make racially-charged statements and bigoted statements, you incite fear, you incite hate, you incite violence. When you tell a room full of people at a rally that you wish someone would purge someone at a face and it happens, you can't say, oh, I didn't know that they would actually do those things. You can't pretend to be surprised that it's happening and we have to curb it before it really gets out of control.

This is not the first time that CNN fawned over Muhammad. Back on August 16, my colleague Matthew Balan wrote about New Day co-host Chris Cuomo hailing Muhammad as a “global phenomenon” who represented a story that everyone should view as an example of “good news.”

The relevant portion of the transcript from December 12's CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello can be found below.

CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello
December 12, 2016
10:43 a.m. Eastern

CAROL COSTELLO: How do you heal a divided nation? 

IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD: I feel like that's a question so many of us that wake up asking ourselves, like, what do we do next? 

COSTELLO: Is it exaggerated? I mean, do we just feel that we’re intensely divided?

MUHAMMAD: I think there's been a significant increase in hate crimes and just the rhetoric — the bigoted rhetoric that I feel like we hear within the last few months specifically and I don't think that it's in our heads. I think that this is actually happening and we have to acknowledge that it's happening. 

COSTELLO: Now that Donald Trump is president-elect, do you feel more discrimination? Have you experienced more hardship because of that? 

MUHAMMAD: I personally haven't but I can't ignore the things that I read and I see in the news. I think of myself as a strong person. I believe in who I am. I believe in my religious beliefs and I'm a confident person but I don't think I'm any different from anyone else in the sense that I can easily be a target of a hate crime. 

COSTELLO: I can hear many Trump supporters say, you know, it's time to just get over it. Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States. What would you say to them? 

MUHAMMAD: When you have someone who sits in the seat of power who makes hateful statements about your race, about your religion, about your gender, it's hard for us to get over these things. It's hard for us to just say, okay, we accept it. That's not the America that I know. 

COSTELLO: Why do you believe that some of white America think they've been forgotten?

MUHAMMAD: It's hard for me to believe that President-elect Trump has had the support of middle America, people who don't fall in the one percent who really can really stand behind someone who doesn’t have their best interests at heart. 

COSTELLO: So you think — you think Donald Trump is fooling that constituency that voted for him? 

MUHAMMAD: I think there will be quite a few groups who supported him throughout his run for president, who will be unpleasantly surprised with the outcome. I don't think that someone like me, who is not part of the one percent, who’s not white, who’s not a male is going to benefit from a Donald Trump presidency. 

COSTELLO: What would you say to those people who think that minorities get everything at the expense of the white working class? 

MUHAMMAD: I think that's a laughable statement. It's difficult in this time to walk down the street as a woman, to walk down the street as a racial minority — as a religious minority and those aren't ideas that we just kind of pull out of thin air. That’s a reality of minorities and women in this country.

COSTELLO: I've heard from so many Trump supporters say, you know, he doesn't mean everything he says. 

MUHAMMAD: When you make racially-charged statements and bigoted statements, you incite fear, you incite hate, you incite violence. When you tell a room full of people at a rally that you wish someone would purge someone at a face and it happens, you can't say, oh, I didn't know that they would actually do those things. You can't pretend to be surprised that it's happening and we have to curb it before it really gets out of control.

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