A CNN panel blew up Thursday over Donald Trump’s Carrier stunt, with liberal commentator Charles Blow arguing that one modest success does not absolve the president-elect of his divisive campaign rhetoric.
Discussing Trump’s so-called “victory tour,” CNN’s Erin Burnett noted that attendees at his rally Thursday were reverting to divisive campaign talking points, shouting “build that wall” and “lock her up,” despite the president-elect’s reneging on both those issues.
Conservative commentator Ben Ferguson argued Americans will begin to see “the pivot of Donald Trump,” noting the president-elect will “probably smile and grin when they say lock her up, but he’s not acting on it.”
Turning to Blow, Burnett noted asked if Trump would be able to unite a country where 2.3 million more people voted for his opponent than him.
“If you are a leader that is what you do,” Blow replied. “But it is not clear to me that Donald Trump is that kind of a leader. You were talking before about broken promises; people understood then that Donald Trump was a pathological liar, and they voted for him anyway. And the idea that he may continue to break promises … that is baked into the cake now. That is the president we have. We have that president going into the White House. I don’t think that bothers the people in that room at all. I think it bothers the other people—the majority of Americans who did not vote for him—tremendously.”
Blow noted that Trump “will say anything, in any room, to try and please that audience,” referencing his visit to the New York Times, where the president-elect called the “failing” newspaper “a jewel of America.”
“Everything you say reeks of fraudulence,” Blow said.
Ferguson snapped back that Blow and the New York Times “do not understand” why Trump won. “The majority of the people who vote for Donald Trump did not think he’s a pathological liar. And every time you do that, supporters … are just going to relish in the fact that you cannot accept the fact or even give this man a chance.”
“The flaw in that is that you assume that I care what his supporters think,” Blow replied. “Actually, I do not care at all what you think about Donald Trump. At all.”
“I am interested in promoting the idea of ‘right,’” Blow said. “And I believe that Donald Trump is simply wrong on a number of issues that are important to me. And I will write about that as often as I get a chance.”
Ferguson protested, cutting Blow off to insist he “can’t understand why Donald Trump won.”
“I do understand it,” Blow replied. “I do understand it on a lot of different levels. I do understand that people turn a blind eye to his racism, to his bigotry. To his sexism, to his mocking of the disabled.”
Later in the panel, Blow battled Trump hype girl Kayleigh McEnany as she tried to interject.
“Can you let me talk, please?” Blow asked. “That would be fantastic.”
Watch the videos below, via CNN: