The CBS This Morning co-hosts on Tuesday had no objection when guest Spike Lee mocked African Americans who support Donald Trump as “some negroes” who will “drink orange Kool-Aid” for the President. Lee also corrected himself when he referred to the violence and looting going on in some cities as “riots.” The filmmaker changed his wording to “uprisings.”
In his new movie about Vietnam War vets Da Five Bloods, Lee features a black Trump supporting character. Co-host Gayle King was baffled, “Now knowing how vocal you've been against the President I think many people were surprised that you made that decision. How come?”
Laughing as he said it, the director dismissed, “Well, there are some negroes that have drunk or will drink the Orange Kool-Aid that's coming in November, but it's a very, very small percentage” No objection, of course, from the CBS hosts.
Given that Lee has previously spun African American Trump fans as house slaves, one might assume this won’t be a positive portrayal. But Lee insisted of the Trump-supporting character: “He really makes you understand why he's wearing that hat and you have sympathy for him.”
Reflecting on past incidents of racism in America and violence, Lee corrected himself for using the word riots: “So these riots -- excuse me, forget I said the word riots -- these uprisings don't come out of nowhere.”
A copy of the transcript is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CBS This Morning
8:33 AM ET
ANTHONY MASON: My talk of the table is on Oscar winner Spike Lee whose new movie re-examines the Vietnam war through the perspective of black soldiers. The movie is called Da Five Bloods and it follows four Vietnam veterans when they return to the country. The group is on a mission to recover the body their squad leader and find buried treasure. In this preview, a North Vietnamese radio host taunts black GIs who still have to fight for their rights back home.
[Clip from movie.]
"RADIO HOST": Black G.I. In Memphis, Tennessee a white man assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King also opposed the U.S. war in Vietnam. Black G.I., your government sent 600,000 troops to crush the rebellion. The soul sister and soul brothers are enraged in over 122 cities. They killed them. Why you fight against us? So far away the from where you are needed.
MASON: Spike Lee as the movie's director, co-writer co-writer and a producer and joins us now. Spike, good morning. This is a terrific film. Congratulations.
SPIKE LEE: Thank you.
MASON: This is such a powerful moment in the film. Because we're talking about African-American soldiers as the film points out did more than their share of combat fighting for the U.S., but we're still fighting for social justice back home. And sort of continuing message of the film is that the past isn't just the past, it's very present in the film. And, you know, you make that point very strongly. That's what you were aiming for, correct?
GAYLE KING: People are watching this in a way they have never before and the way it ties to the movie to me, there's a great line in the movie where you say, “Don't let anyone use our rage against us. We control our own rage.” Now this scene occurs after the assassination of Martin Luther King and when I heard it, it gave me goose bumps. I thought that's almost exactly what's happening today.
LEE: Well, I like that -- Gayle, you know I love you, but what we also are doing in the film that we show that when Dr. King got assassinated over 120 cities, United States of America were going up in flames. So this brings me back every time -- I don't know why there's discussion why people are mad. This stuff has been happening. I mean the last time New York City had a curfew was 1943. You know what the reason was? A black soldier coming back from World War II gets killed by a cop. Harlem went crazy. So these riots -- excuse me, forget I said the word riots, these uprisings don't come out of nowhere.
LEE: They don't come out of nowhere. What we speak about in 2020 why people are upset. They don't get it.
KING: Yeah. I think for the first time, though, Spike people are looking at this very differently. I want to go back to your movie for a second. In the movie you include a black Trump supporter complete with a Make America Great again hat on. Now knowing how vocal you've been against the President I think many people were surprised that you made that decision. How come?
LEE: Well, there are some negroes [laughs] that have drunk or will drink the Orange Kool-Aid that's coming in November, but it's a very, very small percentage and I needed -- we needed that. My co-writer Ken Wilmott and I to put some tension in the group. These four brothers who grew up, who fought side-by-side in the Vietnam War and are coming back 40 some years later. So everybody can't be -- everybody went off after they came back from the war, so people went their different ways and – I would like to add, played by the great actor Delroy Lindo, he really makes you understand why he's wearing that hat and you have sympathy for him.