MSNBC journalists and analysts on Monday lashed out at conservative complaints of reporters picking out an “amazing” coat for Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris. MSNBC Live co-host Chris Jansing called the reaction “crazy” and guest Mark Thompson attacked it as racist.
MSNBC reporters at a campaign stop over the weekend gushed as they chose an “amazing,” multi-colored coat. CNN reporter Maeve Reston admitted “we kind of forced” Harris to put it on. Chris Jansing on Monday whined, “But people did go kind of crazy on this. They were saying, ‘Journalists shouldn’t be shopping with candidates’ or ‘They shouldn’t be doing these kinds of activities.’”
Ali Vitali, one of the female reporters involved in clothing shopping with Harris, spun it as something that just kind of happened:
One of the other reporters asked the store owner what's the story with that jacket? And eventually the store owner kind of prodded Kamala Harris to try it on. And then kind of the rest is Twitter history.
MSNBC guest Mark Thompson deemed the anger to be born out of racism:
Kamala has three strikes against her. She's a woman. She's black. She’s an African American and she's a front-runner. So she’s getting a lot of these shots early. But I think it's ridiculous.
Apparently, it’s beyond the comprehension of MSNBC journalists that there is something wrong with reporters helping a 2020 Democratic candidate pick out clothing.
A partial transcript of the segment is below:
CHRIS JANSING: There are going to be viral moments. And Kamala Harris found out about that this weekend. I want to go back to Ali Vitali because suddenly Twitter blows up, Ali, because Kamala Harris tries on a sparkly jacket. You were there. Explain sort of the context of that.
ALI VITALI: Well, Chris, as you well know, you do retail politics stops. You meet with store owners. You go into communities and you try to get a sense of what makes these communities tick. While she was in Columbia, South Carolina, Senator Kamala Harris stopped into several black, female-owned businesses. One of these was a thrift shop owned by Nada. And this woman is someone who has an amazing story. She struggled through homelessness, eventually became a small business owner herself. She wanted to show women through their clothing store that they don't have to look like what they've been through. And so, as she was telling Kamala Harris her story, and as Kamala was checking out at the counter, there was a sparkly jacket that was hanging right next to the register.
One of the other reporters asked the store owner what's the story with that jacket? And eventually the store owner kind of prodded Kamala Harris to try it on. And then kind of the rest is Twitter history. The pictures, obviously. We all tweeted them and posted them online and, of course, there was a lot of viral reaction. But I think the important thing to note here is that it's not unusual for candidates to go out and patronize local businesses, whether it’s shopping or restaurants.
JANSING: No, of course not.
VITALI: And it’s not also the first time that we’ve seen a candidate go shopping. In 2012, a lot of Romney reporters were remembering he shopped for a jacketing for his wife. So, this isn’t the first jacket. It’s not the first shopping spree and I’m sure it won’t be the first — it won’t be the last of the viral moments we see on the campaign trail. But this was definitely one of the first.
JANSING: I remember when Joe Lieberman was out. His wife would always say to me, “Hey. I just found this sale you might want get.” I mean, it’s life. But people did go kind of crazy on this. They were saying, “Journalists shouldn’t be shopping with candidates” or “They shouldn’t be doing these kinds of activities.” Kasie Hunt points out, “No body seemed to have a problem when the candidate was Scott Walker and the activity was motorcycle riding. Or Mitt Romney was riding jet skis on vacation or skeet shooting with Lindsey Graham.” What about this?
MARK THOMPSON (SiriusXM Progress radio host): Kamala has three strikes against her. She's a woman. She's black. She’s an African American and she's a front-runner. So she’s getting a lot of these shots early. But I think it's ridiculous. People still don't obviously know how to deal with a woman running for president. I appreciate Ali’s story, though, because the backstory about the store and owner is important. So is it that she bought a shiny jacket or a multi-colored jacket, a coat of many colors or is it important that she supported a black-owned business by a black woman who used to be homeless. I mean, I think that’s really what the story is. And I think that’s a good thing.