'They are lemmings': Democratic strategist blasts Republicans as 'the party of cowardice and complicity'
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (AFP/File / NICHOLAS KAMM)

In a CNN panel Monday, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona unleashed on the way Republicans are continuing to give President Donald Trump a pass on his racist attacks on four congresswomen of color.

In a press availability, Trump told reporters that the four women are changing the Democratic Party, saying no one knows how to handle them.

After playing the tape, one of the panelists off-camera could be heard saying, "He's such a liar."

"It’s so insulting that he even talks about these four young women of color as 'people who need to be handled,'" Cardona said of Trump's casual misogyny. "They are elected members of Congress. They deserve respect. What I think really drives this president crazy is that they are young, and they are women of color, and that they are doing things that really take him off of his message. And they are also exposing what many of us have already known — that he is a racist, that he has taken a playbook out of the handbook of white supremacists telling them to 'send her back.' And then — then using that at his rallies and saying he doesn’t agree with it."

David Urban was asked for comment and struggled to find the words to respond, saying merely that he doesn't agree with Trump on this issue. He said he preferred Trump attacking people on ideas.

"Maria, not everyone who disagrees with you is a racist," Urban said.

"The thing is, this was racist. It was textbook racist," Cardona shot back.

"The initial attack was racist," said host Brianna Keilar, filling in for Jake Tapper.

"I would advise, bad tweet," Urban said. He then brought up the governor of Virginia, who was caught wearing blackface in an old medical school yearbook.

"The fact that you have to bring it up," Cardona said, calling out Urban's example reveals he thinks Trump's comment was racist.

Former Mitt Romney policy director Lanhee Chen said that this is why Trump keeps coming back to this discussion, because he thinks it's helping him in some way.

"He wouldn’t do it. The advantage to David’s point is, to the extent that you highlight these people as the Democratic Party and as spokespeople for the Democratic Party, I think it’s a problem for the Democrats. We’re talking about the four people, not the 22 running for president. I think that’s the issue," Chen said.

Karen Finney noted that Trump doesn't get to decide who speaks for the Democratic Party. Those leaders are the speaker, the senate leader, and party leaders. She also said that it's clear Trump doesn't want to talk about substance.

Cardona explained that if Americans hadn't wanted action on these issues they would not have given Democrats control of Congress.

"Let’s remember that part of what Democrats ran on was to hold this president accountable because Republicans were completely looking the other way," Cardona said. "They were lemmings, they are lemmings, frankly. They have become the party of cowardice and complicity. So, therefore, it is part of Congress’ job to go through the process of holding this president accountable. Having Mueller testify about all of the damning things that were in this report, I think is going to be a critical part of the process that Nancy Pelosi has put forward in terms of getting the country to a place where are we going to impeach the president? Maybe. She hasn’t taken it off the table. But let's see where the facts follow."

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