During Thursday’s edition of CNN Tonight With Don Lemon, the eponymous host asked his panel to weigh in on Senator Orrin Hatch waving his hand at angry left-wing protesters and telling them to “grow up.” It did not take long for the panel to make the entire debate about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the source of anger for the protesters who confronted Senator Hatch, all about race and gender.
Up first, Never-Trumper Max Boot said Hatch’s behavior “probably just reinforces...stereotypes about clueless, old, out of touch white guys.” Boot also complained about the “faux” FBI investigation into the decades-old sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh, lamenting the “rigged process” where “the FBI only talked to nine potential witnesses out of dozens that were out there.”
While Trump supporter Steve Cortes admitted that Hatch came across as “a bit grumpy,” he took issue with the comment from Boot and other liberals obsessing about the race of Hatch and the other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asking “What does the racial component have to do with this?”
Lemon answered Cortes’s question: “All you have to do is look at your television. And you will see that the makeup of the Judiciary Committee...the Senate...(and) this administration, is not reflective of the diversity of the country.” Lemon asked “What’s wrong with pointing out the obvious?” After Lemon completed his lecture about diversity, liberal commentator Hilary Rosen went on about how “diversity breeds empathy in a way the patriarchy of the Senate does not historically do.”
Cortes later reiterated his point that liberals “are trying to...inject race into issues where race doesn’t have relevance and I think it’s indicative, unfortunately, of their fixation with identity politics.”
No conversation on race in post-Trump America would be complete without at least one member of the panel referring to President Trump as a white nationalist. Boot did the honors, calling President Trump a white nationalist who said “white supremacists are very fine people.” Cortes strenuously objected to Boot’s characterization of the President as a white nationalist, saying that he instead espouses “American nationalism” and that “America is not a race.” As the segment came to a close, Rosen complained that “This is about access to power, who has it and who doesn’t. And white men have it.”
A transcript of the relevant portion of Thursday’s edition of CNN Tonight is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN Tonight With Don Lemon
LEMON: All right. We’re back with Hilary, Steve and Max. So I want you guys to check out this moment when a group of women confronted Senator Orrin Hatch and Judge Kavanaugh…over Judge Kavanaugh. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why aren’t you brave enough to talk to us and exchange with us? Don’t you wave your hand at me, I wave my hand at you!
SENATOR ORRIN HATCH: When you grow up, I’ll be glad to speak to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How dare you talk to women that way! How dare you! How dare you!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Max, how did, how did you think Senator Hatch handled that?
MAX BOOT: Well, probably not very well, which probably just reinforces, you know, stereotypes about clueless, old, out of touch white guys. But I have to say that overall, I mean, I think just the level of (INAUDIBLE) and partisan anger over this issue is very disquieting to me because I see it on both sides. I see really a rejection of reason on both sides and it’s very hard to find any kind of center here. You know, you look at Democrats, for example. They were all pretty much prepared to reject Kavanaugh no matter what, even if he was a complete choir boy, eminently qualified. They didn’t care. They were going to reject him no matter what. Republicans, on the other hand, they don’t care if all these charges are true. Even if they’re all true, they’re still going to push for him because he is going to advance the Republican agenda. And of course, you see these emotions boiling over. It’s not helped by the fact that the Judiciary Committee did not do a serious investigation. There was a faux investigation, the FBI only talked to nine potential witnesses out of dozens that were out there. And so there’s a sense that this process was rigged. And that just feeds into that partisan anger, which I think is very debilitating for our country.
LEMON: I’m actually surprised that these guys are…Steve, hold on. I’m actually surprised that these guys are surprised or upset that people are getting into their faces because isn’t this one of our founding rights here, to protest and to be heard?
ROSEN: Yes, it is.
STEVE CORTES: Yes, yeah, I certainly think it is. And I think Senator Hatch comes across… he’s got one foot out the door, he’s retiring. I think he came across a bit grumpy there, to be quite honest. But I wanted to ask Max because I’ve heard this point endlessly from liberals when they are criticizing people like Senator Hatch. They keep mentioning that the Senators on the committee are white. What does the racial component have to do with this? As far as I can tell, everyone involved in this entire saga, both the accusers and accused, are white people. So what does race have to do with this?
LEMON: Can I answer that for you, Max? Can I just answer for you? It is because if you…all you have to do is look at your television. And you will see that the makeup of the Judiciary Committee, the makeup of the Senate, who we’ve been looking at, we can talk about the Congress later, the makeup of this administration is not reflective of the diversity of the country. If…we would be saying the same thing, if all the people who were doing the questioning were old and black or old and Hispanic, we would say that they don’t represent the diversity of the country. So, no one is trying to make it a racial issue. It is what it is. It’s old, white guys. And quite frankly, on the Democratic side, it was an older white lady. So, what’s wrong with saying that? What’s wrong with pointing out the obvious?
HILARY ROSEN: Well, more diversity on the Democrats.
CORTES: There’s nothing…I don’t think there’s anything wrong…
LEMON: There’s people like Rush Limbaugh and other Senators who are also mentioning…Lindsey Graham did the same thing. Rush Limbaugh said the same thing. They actually pointed it out more so than the people on this panel. Go on.
ROSEN: There’s actually…I mean, I think you’re being polite, Don, in your education here. I think there’s also more to it, which really is that the sort of the diversity breeds empathy in a way that the patriarchy of the Senate does not historically do. We have not seen the kind of empathy for a change in culture, a change in the way women are treated; the way that you have seen it in other places in this country, the way you’ve seen it in the Democratic Party, it’s just not happened much in the Senate. Even the way the bullying of Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski and by the, you know, the Senate Republican leadership, you know, it’s like they’re picking on the women and putting them in this, in this awkward position. So I do think that it’s more than just, you know, a fact that they’re white. I think it’s that it’s representative of a resistance to change that we have to stop at this point.
CORTES: Okay, but the fact is there is no racial component…
BOOT: Republicans have a problem, there’s no Republican woman on the Judiciary Committee, there’s never been a Republican woman on the Judiciary Committee and so that’s a problem. That’s why they couldn’t trust themselves to question Judge Kavanaugh or they couldn’t trust themselves to question Dr. Ford.
CORTES: I understand that’s there’s a gender component. But there’s not a race component. And yet, liberals constantly keep bringing race into this, which tells me what it really is about…
BOOT: I’m not a liberal. I’m not a liberal. I’m a conservative.
CORTES: Well, you sure sound like one.
BOOT: I’ve been a conservative my whole life.
CORTES: It’s a grievance.
ROSEN: It’s a diversity of thought.
LEMON: Hold on. Why do you think it’s about, not about race? There’s no racial component?
CORTES: Because race…because everyone involved in the case is white. There’s not a racial component to the Kavanaugh nomination. There’s absolutely a gender component. I understand that. But what I’m saying is, I think what liberals are doing here is they are trying to…there’s a grievance overlay effectively, where they want to inject race even into issues where race doesn’t have relevance and I think it’s indicative unfortunately of their fixation with identity politics.
LEMON: How is race not relevant when you don’t have people who are making decisions for America who don’t represent the diversity of this country? Everyone on that committee, all three of the people, 85 or 84 years old, they are white.
LEMON: What’s wrong with talking about that? We…
CORTES: Listen, I’m all for term limits.
LEMON: Hang on. Hold on, hold on, hold on. We break people down into categories when we’re talking about who is voting for who. We’ve got the black vote. We’ve got the white vote. We’ve got the female vote. We have the young people vote. What’s wrong with pointing out the obvious and talking about it? That the country…
CORTES: Okay, by the way…
LEMON: …that these people are not on the same page as most of the people in this country. They…it has left them behind.
CORTES: …If we’re going to do that, let’s be honest.
LEMON: It has left them behind.
ROSEN: And it goes to the access to power, which is…
CORTES: Let’s be honest then too and talk about Ted Cruz…about Ted Cruz who is an Hispanic and by the way, when you want to talk diversity, the Republican Party, the final three presidential contenders, Trump, Cruz, and Rubio, two of the three Hispanics, two of three men of color, all three sons of immigrants…
BOOT: Oh, Steve, come on. Come on. Steve, get real. Get real.
CORTES: And that was supposedly a party that hates…
CORTES: I am being very real with facts.
BOOT: Steve, get real.
CORTES: All three are the sons of immigrants…
BOOT: Donald Trump is promoting a white nationalist agenda.
BOOT: …and two of the three are minorities.
BOOT: Donald Trump is dividing us by race.
CORTES: Oh, he is not. It’s American nationalism.
BOOT: He is catering to white nationalists.
CORTES: It is not white nationalism.
BOOT: He is saying that white supremacists are very fine people.
CORTES: And America is not a race. America is an idea.
ROSEN: Stop, listen.
LEMON: Listen, I have to go.
CORTES: He did not say that.
LEMON: I’m sorry. I’m out of time. But I would say…
ROSEN: This is about access to power, who has it and who doesn’t.
LEMON: Who doesn’t. So listen…
ROSEN: And white men have it.
LEMON: So listen, I got to go, but I just do a Google search on the average age and race of the Senate and the young people in the Senate, Cory Booker, he is 50. Not so young. We’ll be back. We’re going to talk about your book, Max. Thank you, thank you.