A CNN panel on the White House’s response to police violence against black people went off-the-rails Wednesday after a Donald Trump supporter insisted the real issue is minority-on-minority crime and argued that police are immune to systemic racism.
Don Lemon asked Steve Cortes, who sits on Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council, if he believes the president is “tone deaf” on matters of police violence after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment on the killing of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, California.
“I think the default position of this president is, in general, we default to the side of the cops and we believe them,” Cortes said, “That doesn’t mean there aren’t bad apples.”
Cortes went on to declare real issue as “minority-on-minority violence,” before Lemon explained that has “absolutely nothing” to do with Clark’s murder.
“I’m not talking about the particulars of this case,” Cortes replied.
“That’s what we’re here to talk about,” Lemon explained. “That’s why we invited you on to talk about this.”
“I get that we have to have opposing sides of the arguments, I’m a conservative, I get it” Republican political consultant Shermichael Singleton interjected. “But I don’t get why we bring people on these networks who say the utterly ridiculous things like everything Steve has said since we’ve started this discussion.”
“It is obvious, it is blatantly obvious that the president, the White House, has a difficult time discussing race,” Singleton continued. “It’s obvious. This president talked about the murder of a white young lady from an illegal immigrant, why? Because it suited his political agenda. When it comes to talking about black men being killed in this country, this president and this White House stays away it from. How many more African-American men have to be killed before we consider it an epidemic?”
Cortes hit back that the real “epidemic” is “how many decades” the Democratic party has been “exploiting” minorities.
“This has nothing to do with what you’re saying,” Lemon said. “Nothing at all.”
“I can use your same analogy and say why do poor whites continue to vote for Republicans when they’ve done nothing for them?” Singleton asked. “If you want to use that analogy. Let’s get real, it has nothing to do with it. This guy was shot 20 times and all he had was cell phone. You cannot look in the camera and talk to millions of people watching the show right now and tell them there is nothing wrong that. Please tell me that’s not what you’re saying right now.”
“I am not for one second saying there’s nothing wrong with that, and this may have been very well a cop acting very badly,” Cortes suggested before repeating that his “default position” is to “back the cops.”
“Why do you always default to the side of the police officer instead of being equal and wondering what happened?” Lemon pressed.
“I’ll tell you why,” Cortes replied. “First of all, because all cops are not white, clearly.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” Singleton demanded.
“Nobody mentioned anything about police officers being white,” Lemon added.
“It gets to the idea that there’s systemic racism within police and I don’t believe that,” Cortes said.
That’s when former White House aide Keith Boykin laid out the realities of systemic racism and police violence.
“There’s systemic racism in every institution in society,” Boykin explained. “The police are not immune from the rest of biases that infiltrate the rest of society. The problem is, this attitude you have that Don pointed out, that you automatically default to accepting the police point of view, is not healthy.”
“The president of the United States last year or earlier this year went and told police officers to go ‘rough up’ suspect,” Boykin continued. “To hit them on the head and that kind of thing. That’s not healthy behavior.”
Lemon then wrapped up the panel, telling his guest, “I’m out of time and I’m out of patience.”
Watch below, via CNN:
Trump slammed for lawless obstruction of Congress: ‘He’s taken a sledgehammer to the Constitution’
On CNN Saturday, former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY), who voted for the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, discussed the path forward for impeaching President Donald Trump.
"We know moderate Democrats are a bit frustrated with leadership over potentially expanding the scope of their consideration, maybe the Mueller report findings and drawing up these articles of impeachment," said anchor Victor Blackwell. "Do you think it's a mistake not to include anything beyond the Ukraine matter?"
"Yes," said Holtzman. "I think it would be a mistake, although, you know, I'm still at a distance, and the members of the committee really have to, who have been digging into this deeply have the best feel, but my sense is that the, what the president did is so egregious, not just with regard to Ukraine, but what part of what's bad about his activities in Ukraine, is that he's taken a sledgehammer to the Constitution by saying that Congress has no right to get information, and he's cut off his committee, his administration from, and ordered and directed them not to cooperate with the committee in any way."
Giuliani pummeled by ex-press secretary for ‘returning to the scene of the crime’ to create Ukraine chaos
On CNN Saturday, Rudy Giuliani's former mayoral press secretary Ken Frydman harshly criticized his former boss for his ongoing efforts in the Ukraine scheme.
"As you've watched the former mayor over the last several years, have you identified a point at which things shifted for the man who I guess still is for some known at America's Mayor?" asked anchor Victor Blackwell."
"Well, yeah. I think when he went into business with Donald Trump," said Frydman. "You saw a — a severe change in his personality. He had a zealous need to make money, to be relevant. To be part of the political process. And you know right now he's making, I think, ill-advised decisions, like returning to the scene of the crime, Ukraine, to make a propagandist documentary. Almost as if he's playing, he and the president, are playing, 'catch me if you can.' The president will not participate in the impeachment hearings, and Rudy is off in the Ukraine doubling down."
‘I haven’t had a personal cell phone for years’: Trump demands retraction from CNN — in tweet sent from his iPhone
On Thursday, The Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump had spoken to Rudy Giuliani over unsecured phone lines.
If he was using an unsecured phone to talk to Giuliani about Ukraine, Trump would effectively be allowing the Russians to listen in.
CNN confirmed the unsecured phone use, reporting "President Donald Trump has continued to use his personal cell phone to make calls, despite repeated warnings from his staff that the practice could leave him vulnerable to foreign surveillance, multiple officials told CNN."