CNN's Sellers: 'Donald Trump is a Racist, Period'

During Cuomo Prime Time Friday, a discussion on the battle for the African-American vote in the 2020 Presidential Election took place. As is the case with most conversations on race, it did not take long for the liberal on the panel and Cuomo himself to paint President Trump as a racist.

Just a week after belittling Tucker Carlson as a “WASPy white male,” host Chris Cuomo used a similar line of attack against President Trump, claiming that he, “as an older, white Anglo-Saxon male...Protestant” might be “the perfect messenger” to “go after the outrage and the disaffection of the white community.”

Cuomo proceeded to ask conservative Niger Innis of the Congress of Racial Equality “for Donald Trump to sell himself as pro-black after the Central Park Five and birtherism, does he even have a shot?” According to Cuomo, “he (President Trump) won’t let go of it because he doesn’t want to upset the people who like to hear that the brown guys did it.”

 

 

After Cuomo and Innis finished their back and forth on President Trump’s position on the Central Park Five, Innis began arguing that African-Americans should support President Trump because of the economy, citing BET founder Bob Johnson’s description of the Trump economy as “an A-plus in particular for groups of Americans that have been left behind in black and brown communities.” Innis stressed: “I don’t care who the messenger is. We’re sick of panderfest and we’re sick of nice words.” Cuomo disagreed, saying “the messenger matters.”

CNN Political Commentator Bakari Sellers picked up on Cuomo’s argument that “the messenger matters,” trashed President Trump by comparing him to segregationists and labeling him as a racist: “there are a lot of us who wouldn't take anything from Lester Maddox, there are a lot of us who wouldn’t take anything from George Wallace, there are a lot of us who won’t take anything from Donald Trump...Donald Trump is a racist, period.” For the record, Sellers could have reached that conclusion simply by watching Cuomo Prime Time every single night. Sellers went on to claim that President Trump “every single day makes you feel or attempts to make you feel lesser of an individual by his words and deeds because of the color of your skin.”

 

 

As the conversation came to a close, Cuomo contended that “the President has made this election about American identity, who are we, what do we accept, and what do we reject?” Innis jumped in, attempting to make the case that “the Democrats are the Squad,” referring to the four very liberal Congresswomen propped up by the media.

In response to Innis’s characterization of the Democrats as “the Squad,” Sellers, perhaps jokingly, told him “don’t be scared of powerful black women, Niger,” attempting to paint disapproval of “the Squad” results from racial animus. Innis shot down that narrative: “I love powerful black women…Just not socialists.” Based on the most recent edition of Cuomo Prime Time, it looks like the total number of times CNN and MSNBC have called Trump racist, as documented by Grabien, continues to rise.

 

A transcript of the relevant portion of Friday’s edition of Cuomo Prime Time is below. Click “expand” to read more.

 

Cuomo Prime Time

07/26/19

09:22 PM

CHRIS CUOMO: So, if 2020 Democrats don’t want a repeat of 2016, they’re going to need to bring out more African-American voters. While candidates roll out ambitious proposals far toward the left than to the center, President Trump insists his administration has delivered huge wins for the African-American community. Starting point for tonight’s Great Debate; Bakari Sellers who, by the way, endorsed Kamala Harris, and Niger Innis, who I’m guessing, has not. All right, good to have you both. Thank you very much.

NIGER INNIS: Good guess.

CUOMO: First thing to…

INNIS: Good guess.

CUOMO: First thing to you, Bakari is, are you okay with the Democrats’ state of play? You endorsed Harris, so I’m assuming you’re okay with what she did in the debate with Biden. But now you have Booker calling the VP, I want to get it straight, “an architect of mass incarceration.” Do you feel that that is a fair appraisal of the former VP?

BAKARI SELLERS: I think it’s a fair appraisal. I think when you look at the ‘84, ‘86, ‘88 and ‘94 crime bills, the damage that it’s caused, that’s a fair appraisal. I mean, I think the challenge for all of these candidates and you’re starting to see it is what are you going to do now? I think putting forth these robust policy proposals is the answer to many of those questions, but…

CUOMO: Wait one step back…

SELLERS: …you have to be extremely clear.

CUOMO: …one step back. Because I had Jim Clyburn on here.

SELLERS: Sure.

CUOMO: And he was for those bills too. And he…

SELLERS: Okay.

CUOMO: …said that it’s not as simple as looking at one aspect of it. It was about the time, and what we could get done, and what else we had in there. I don’t think that you…does that mean that the candidates are not being fair to Biden in that appraisal?

SELLERS: No. No. In fact, Jim Clyburn was wrong as well. I mean Bobby Rush, who served with Jim Clyburn, and made that same ‘94 vote, Dick Durbin, who served with Jim Clyburn and made that ‘94 vote, they’ve all said that that was the worst vote they’ve taken in their life. They regret that vote. Because Jim Clyburn and Joe Biden cannot let that go, it’s very hard to believe that you can remedy those problems. But this is a robust debate that we’re having within our party. We are trying to build on the criminal justice reform that Barack Obama set forth. But let me also say this, Chris, and Niger as well, you know, let…let’s not get bogged down on this one issue because black folk like more than just criminal justice reform. We’d like to make money too. And so, one of the things that you’re seeing from Pete Buttigieg to Kamala Harris to Beto O’Rourke to Elizabeth Warren is you’re seeing these substantive policy plans directed at the African-American community to remedy and cut in half that racial wealth gap.

CUOMO: Right.

SELLERS: One thing Republicans always want to do is say, “I want black voters. Let’s do criminal justice reform.” Tim Scott does get it right, let me say that. But more voters have to start…more…more politicians have to start…

CUOMO: Well, we’ll go back to the…

SELLERS: …talking about…

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: …policies and whether that helps or hurts bring out the black vote. But, to you Niger, look, the challenges is easy. You got your First Step Act, and you have that the economy is good, and that means it’s good for everybody. You do have the yawning gap between black and white; that’s as bad as it’s ever been, but the bigger problem is who the agent is here. He may be the perfect messenger as an older white Anglo-Saxon male to go…Protestant…to go after the outrage and the disaffection of the white community. But for Donald Trump to sell himself as pro-black after the Central Park Five and birtherism, does he even have a shot?

INNIS: Well, first of all, he wasn’t the only one back in New York in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s that were troubled about crime and particularly…

CUOMO: Troubled?

INNIS: …outraged about…

CUOMO: He accused them…

INNIS: …the, the initial…

CUOMO: …of having done something they were exonerated by and took out…

INNIS: …well he…

CUOMO: …a full page ad in The New York Times and he still says…

INNIS: …well yeah but, Chris…

CUOMO: …they did it.

INNIS: …I’m going to, I’m going to shock you. There were black leaders, including my father, that were just as outraged at the initial reports. Now…

CUOMO: At the…not just the initial reports.

INNIS: …obviously, history shows…

CUOMO: He says now that they did it.

INNIS: Well, you know, we, we, we, we can…we can argue him saying now, you know, what…what the situation is.

CUOMO: What’s the argument, Niger?

INNIS: Well, it was back what was going on…

CUOMO: He won’t let go of it…

INNIS: …back then.

CUOMO: …because he doesn’t want to upset…

INNIS: Well…

CUOMO: …the people who like to hear that the brown guys did it.

INNIS: Well, let…let me…let me get to, to some of the larger points here and not just focus on…

CUOMO: If I were you, I would…

INNIS: Central Park…

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: …leave that one alone also, Niger. Well played! Well played!

INNIS: Well…

CUOMO: Continue.

INNIS: …well it’s only because, you know, Trump was not the only one. There were a number of folks…

CUOMO: He’s now…

INNIS: …including my father…

CUOMO: …President of the United States.

INNIS: as Chairman of a Civil Rights Organization…

CUOMO: So, the fact that there was a bunch…

INNIS: …that were equally outraged.

CUOMO: … of people who didn’t know what the hell they were talking about is not the cover for a sitting President to say he still won’t accept the justice in that case. Move on!

INNIS: Let me…let me say this. Let…let me say this, all right? As a Republican, a lot of your viewers may not believe me. I would say look at an individual named Tavis Smiley, who is a Democrat, uber-liberal Democrat, when making an analysis of the state of black…black America after eight years of Barack Obama. And let…let’s be…let’s be clear here. You know, Kamala Harris, I mean, I love…

SELLERS: Kamala! Kamala!

INNIS: …Bakari, my…my brother and got…got…oh, Senator Harris, let me make it easy on myself, Senator Harris and…and Buttigieg and, and, and, and O’Rourke and many of the others are frankly doing a warmed-over Obamanomics. And what Tavis Smiley said was that after eight years of Obamanomics, Barack Obama’s policies, black America, not by one economic indicator, not by two, not by three, these are his words, but by every single economic indicator, are worse off. Another Democrat, another black Democrat named Bob Johnson, the Founder of BET, a Democrat, a Hillary Clinton donor giving…asked the question about an analysis of Donald Trump’s performance on the economy, he said, “Not only is it A-plus, but it’s A-plus in particular for groups of Americans that have been left behind in black and brown communities.”

CUOMO: All right, so let’s bounce that argument to Bakari.

INNIS: Donald Trump doesn’t need to…I don’t care who the messenger is. We’re sick of panderfest and we’re sick of nice words.

CUOMO: Well the messenger matters.

INNIS: We want action and delivery.

CUOMO: I don’t need to…

INNIS: And that’s what’s Trump has done.

CUOMO: …I don’t need to tell either of you the messenger matters. This demographic maybe more than any other, has the keenest ear for false praise and fake friends. Bakari, are you worried about the economics?

SELLERS: I’m worried about the economics. I mean I’m not going to sit here and…and bash Tavis Smiley and Bob Johnson, although I have very hearty disagreements with them both. And Tavis Smiley’s petty disagreements with the President go back…goes back to not getting inauguration tickets, so I’m not going to go into that. But what I am going to say is the economics is very important. I mean we…there are many of us, and Niger, I’m sure is one of…one of them, who have been chanting for a long period of time for both parties to talk about issues of increasing African-American wealth, access to wealth because many times that’s the only way that you can…that you can achieve and attain some level of success. And I mentioned…I failed to mention one person earlier, Bernie Sanders, who’s also talking about these issues. And so, it’s more than just criminal justice reform. I think, Chris though, you hit the nail on the head that there are a lot of us who…who won’t…who wouldn’t take anything from Lester Maddox, there are a lot of us who wouldn’t take anything from George Wallace, there are a lot of us who won’t take anything from Donald Trump. It’s the same vain. I mean Donald Trump is a racist, period. And I say that based on fact, I say that based on action, I say that based on deed. And so, I’m not going to make that argument. To Niger, and everyone else in this country, and people who are watching, I will say that even before we are Republican or Democrat, we’re black first, we’re American, we’re black first. And…and going into that, it’s very hard to have someone who every single day makes you feel or attempts to make you feel lesser of an individual by his words and deeds because of the color of your skin. The Central Park Five is just one of those ways in which he does it. And you can’t atone by that by simply trying to get, it’s pronounced ASAP, Chris, trying to get A$AP Rocky out of jail, it takes a little bit more than that.

CUOMO: So, let me ask you one other thing though, Bakari. The idea of African-American vote, “Well if they can get another African-American, they’ll always vote for them,” that is not true. And as a…

SELLERS: No.

CUOMO: …policy categorization and, you know, in that demo, especially if you’re looking at African-American women, pretty center of the road, pretty middle-of-the-road. They do not go in for very hyper-ambitious progressive policies. Are you worried that while you may be talking the same talk on some fronts, you’re pushing it too much on the policy front, and that could have a chilling effect?

SELLERS: Not at all. Because I tell people this all the time, especially in the primary. African-American women, my mama and her friends are the people who choose the nominee. I mean black women came out in droves for Hillary Clinton, black women voted at the tune of 94 to 96 percent for Hillary Clinton, white women voted at 53 percent for Donald Trump. I don’t have the audacity to believe I know why that is. But I…I’m quite comfortable with this simple fact. We’re getting something right in the Democratic Party right now, even with all the bickering, because in 2016, there was a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and a lot of black voters chose the couch. Right now, I think, by giving people something to vote for, giving them policy, giving them initiatives to vote for, you’ll see more people engaged in the process. This is not going to be a race about those…those…those white voters that we lost. This is going to be a race, and I know that rubs a lot of Democrats the wrong way, this is going to be a race about energizing your base, and getting those people to come back out and vote.

CUOMO: Well I’ll tell you, the President’s helping you out. I got to go right now. But I’ll tell you, the President has made this election about American identity, who are we, what do we accept, and what do we reject? Policy’s going to fill in the blanks.

INNIS: And the Democrats are the Squad.

CUOMO: Well and then…that’s how you’re trying to define them, and you’re using the word socialist, this is going to be about identity politics. It’s going to get ugly. And the fast…

SELLERS: Don’t be scared of powerful black women, Niger. Don’t be scared of powerful Black women. They’re just fine.

INNIS: Oh, no, I…I love me some. I…

CUOMO: Easy.

INNIS: …I have a mama that was a powerful black woman. I love powerful black women.

CUOMO: All right, all right, guys, thank you very much for doing this…

INNIS: Just not socialists.

CUOMO: …especially on a Friday night. Bakari, Niger…

SELLERS: Thank you.

CUOMO: …thank you, be well.

Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Race Issues CNN Cuomo PrimeTime Chris Cuomo
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