In a heated discussion on CNN Newsroom Saturday, commentator Symone Sanders battled Republican operative Betsy McCaughey over McCaughey’s claim that racism played no role in Donald Trump’s 2016 Electoral College victory.
The talk initially centered around the blowup between Clinton and Trump aides at a Harvard forum earlier this week. Sanders — who served as press secretary to the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign — said that the run-up to the election was largely devoid of policy discussions, particularly from Trump.
“Tensions are still high,” Sanders said, “and there is a real diagreement from both sides, actually, about how Donald Trump ascended to be the 45th president of the United States of America.”
When asked why the Trump campaign are being such sore winners, McCaughey said, “I think the campaign has been very gracious in victory, but what disturbs me the most is to see the Democratic Party leaders and spokespeople like Symone are still making false accusations of racism — in fact, behaving like racists themselves.”
“One reason Donald Trump won,” McCaughey continued, “is Americans are sick and tired of reverse racism and that’s what they heard from Hillary Clinton at the beginning.”
“We’ve got to cut this out,” Sanders said as McCaughey went on about how the Democratic Party is to blame for the state of U.S. race relations.
“Betsy, people of color in America are victims of systemic racism and I think it’s really important to note that while the Trump campaign, yes, they won. Donald Trump is going to be the next president,” she said.
“There are still some real underlying issues,” Sanders said. “The rhetoric that the campaign elevated, these fringe elements that they brought into the mainstream. These are the things that people in America are still dealing with…The Trump campaign has to at least own that so we can move forward.”
“I don’t appreciate these accusations of racism,” McCaughey protested, “because they are untrue and the only reason that people like Symone constantly label their opponents as racist is because they don’t have an argument they can win on the merits.”
Shaking her head, Sanders said, “Betsy just ‘You people-d’ me. Thank you.”
“You people” has been ridiculed online and in activist circles as a phrase typical of racists and other prejudiced people because of its other-ing nature and reduction of the addressee to nothing more than their race, class or orientation.
“When he said ‘you people’ or ‘your people,’ it was like waving a red flag in front of a bull,” said former NAACP president Willie Clark of independent presidential candidate Ross Perot’s use of the phrase “You people” in 1992. “It’s something white folks have used when they don’t want to call you nigger, but they don’t want to treat you like an equal.”
Watch the video, embedded below: