For most of the nation on Monday, it was a Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But for CNN and other mainstream media networks, they’ve been engaged in what seems to many to be a multi-day Paint Trump as a Racist event. However, one attempt by CNN to double-down on their fresh attack on President Trump’s character failed miserably when they brought MLK’s nephew on the air in hopes that he’d bash the president, too.
CNN host Don Lemon, who has become one of Trump’s most derisive critics in the media, interviewed Isaac Newton Farris Jr.
Farris is the president of The King Center, an organization that promotes MLK’s push for nonviolent social change. He spoke with Trump on Friday about race issues and was present for Trump’s signing of a proclamation designating Martin Luther King Jr. Day a federal holiday, according to NBC affiliate 11 Alive. Lemon had him on air to address the “s---hole” comment Trump allegedly made about Haiti and African countries during private DACA negotiations.
It was obvious from his answers that Farris is not a big Trump supporter, but he was also unwilling to follow Lemon’s lead in labeling Trump a racist.
Farris said the president is “racially ignorant and racially uninformed” instead, before walking back the “ignorant” comment because he felt the word has too negative a connotation.
“The president, I do not think, is a racist as we have traditionally known in this country,” Farris said.
“If you’re racially uninformed and you’re ignorant...doesn’t that make you racist...and maybe you’re just ignorant and you don’t know that you’re racist?” Lemon insisted.
“No,” Farris countered. “What it means, Don, is that maybe you have said or done some racist things unknowingly, so that does—”
Lemon cut him off, saying, “That’s kind of what I just said. That makes you a racist.”
“Well, no, it means maybe what you said or done a racist act, but it’s not racism in your heart,” Farris replied. “You can do some things and not be aware that you’re doing them, and I think that’s largely that case with President Trump.”
But Lemon wouldn’t have any of it, shooting back, “It seems like you’re negating your own argument, then, because he believes it. In his ignorance, he believes what he says, and therefore it means that’s what’s in his heart.”
“Well, no, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that ‘because he thinks he knows something, that’s what’s in his heart.’ He could be misinformed from a source he considers credible,” Farris explained.
“Isaac,” Lemon replied in a very condescending tone. “He’s the president. He has an obligation to be informed.”
He then started spouting misleading liberal talking points, saying Trump had “promoted the whole racist ‘birther’ movement, ‘Mexicans are rapists,’ he wanted to shut down Muslims from entering the country. How much more evidence do you need? Because even some [Ku Klux] Klan members don’t think they’re racist.”
Farris pointed out that Trump didn’t call all Mexicans rapists, and that if he was racist, he would consider all Hispanic people to be “bad people.”
“We can’t have shifting definitions [of racism] because we really are approaching a transformation point in America,” Farris replied, explaining why he wanted to come onto CNN to speak in the first place.
The argument continued, with the fast-talking Lemon speaking down to more-slowly-talking Farris who was trying to get his point across as Lemon kept twisting his words around. Lemon even said at one point that any African American who still supported Trump was allowing themselves to be manipulated by him.
“You cannot believe this president is not racist if you listen to what he says,” Lemon proclaimed after accusing MLK’s nephew of unfairly capitalizing on his uncle’s name in order to get his voice heard.
Farris informed Lemon that calling people a racist is a poor way to start the conversation this country needs to have on improving race relations in America.
Farris reminded the CNN host that, “George Wallace...threw down the gauntlet ‘segregation now, segregation forever.’ Donald Trump says, ‘Hey, black people, your community is wrecked. Your black leaders have abandoned you. Give me a chance.’ He did not say, ‘Blacks, your community is wrecked and you’re subhuman and you don’t deserve a chance.’”
After the commercial break, Lemon even apologized to his audience for letting them hear Farris’ opinion, admitting, “I didn’t invite that man on to argue.”
Watch conservative media analyst Mark Dice sum up the best parts of the interview below (PARENTAL WARNING: One vulgar word in the captions):
What do you think of this? In related news, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece gave a strong defense of Trump on MLK Day.