CNN Trump Apologist Jeffrey Lord Doubles Down on Stupidity
The notion that the Ku Klux Klan was (or is) a “leftist” organization, and that the Republican Party is the true party of civil rights is a notion baked in dishonesty. Jeffrey Lord, CNN’s resident Donald Trump apologist spewed this revisionist history talking point that has been a staple of wingnut commentary about race since President Obama was first elected the other day, and last night, Van Jones called him out on not only that, but the troubling tone of Trump’s campaign in general:
JONES: Hold on a sec — Innocent black kids. Listen, hold on a second. We have a big problem at this point now. Because I agree with you about a lot. I think we have taken him not seriously, we have not respected his voters, but there is a dark underside here and S.E. is right. He is whipping up and tapping into and pushing buttons that are very, very frightening to me and frightening to a lot of people. Number one, when he is playing funny with the Klan, that is not cool.
LORD: He didn’t play funny with the Klan.
JONES: Hold on a second. I know this man when he gets passionate about terrorism. I know how he talks about terrorism. The Klan is a terrorist organization that has killed —
LORD: A leftist terrorist organization.
JONES: You can put whatever label you want, that’s your game to play.
LORD: No, it’s important to history.
JONES: We’re not going to play that game.
LORD:: We’re going to understand history.
JONES: No, you need to take a serious look at the fact that this man has been playing fast and loose and footsie — when you talk about terrorism, he gets passionate. He says no, this is wrong. But when you talk about the Klan, oh, I don’t know, I don’t know. That’s wrong. And then you came on the air and you said, well this is just like when Reverend Wright was speaking. Reverend Wright never lynched anybody, Reverend Wright never killed anybody.
LORD: Reverend Wright is an anti-Semite.
JONES: Reverend Wright never put anybody on a post. And you guys play these word games and it’s wrong to do in America.
LORD: Van, what you’re doing here is dividing people. We’re all Americans here, Van. You’re dividing people - this is what liberals do - you’re dividing people by race.
JONES: I am not -
LORD: This is what liberalism is all about.
JONES: The Klan divides people by race. They killed people by race -
LORD: They did it to further the progressive agenda.
JONES: That is, first all, so absurd -
LORD: It’s true -
JONES: The Democratic Party of the South in the old days was a racist party, and you-you are correct, sir. They were a violent party, and you are correct, sir -
LORD: How do you think we got Woodrow Wilson elected?
JONES: Hold on a second, hold on a second, that’s not the Democratic Party of today, so what are you talking about that for? You play these games -
LORD: It is the Democratic Party of today -
JONES: You play these games -
LORD: The Democratic Party of today divides by race.
The conversation continued into this morning:
VAN JONES: You know, I don’t understand why the right-wing is so obsessed with trying to point out that the Ku Klux Klan, you know, 50, 60, 70 years ago was a part of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, in that time, was a racist party and there were violent elements. That’s true because obviously the Republicans at that time were the party of Lincoln, who ended slavery. And so — but we’ve had a reversal over these past 50 — my entire lifetime, I was born in ‘68. There’s been that reversal. So, I think for African Americans, when we try to speak about the pain of the lynchings, we try to speak about the fear that we are having around every African American dinner table — kitchen table about what does Trump mean? People thought, well 50 years ago they were Democrats. To us it feels dismissive.
CAMEROTA: Jeffrey, were you using a diversionary tactic to go back 50, 60, 70 years, rather than back two days ago to what Donald Trump said, where he did not give any sort of aggressive disavowal with Jake Tapper of the KKK? Why not focus on today and the race today we’re talking about?
JEFFREY LORD: I would love to focus on today, Alisyn, and what I was trying to give was give historical context. My point is that race fuels the progressive movement, and has always fueled the progressive movement. Whether it was slavery, segregation, lynching, the Ku Klux Klan, to today’s racial quotas, illegal immigration by skin color. You know, groups like La Raza, the Black Panthers. Black Lives Matter, et cetera. It’s always about let’s divide people by race and then here is the progressive agenda we want to enact. That’s the connection to me, and it’s a constant throughout two hundred some odd years of history, the Klan being just one of them. And, by the way, just not long ago when Occupy Wall Street was a big thing going, David Duke was a big supporter of occupy Wall Street right there with President Obama.
CAMEROTA: Van, what’s wrong with that logic?
JONES: I have no idea what he’s talking about. First of all, you’re going to say that the people who are dividing America by race were progressives, were liberals—
JONES: Hold on a second. You had your turn, sir.
LORD: Yes sir.
JONES: I don’t understand what you are talking about. If you look at American history, we were enslaved — I’m a ninth generation American. I’ve been in this country for nine generations, my family. I’m the first person in my family born with all my rights. OK? I was born in ‘68. It was not progressives that were trying to keep slavery in place. It was not progressives that trying to keep segregation in place. It was — Frankly people of conscience on both sides fought against that. But there’s this weird strain now on the right that tries to pretend that their hands are completely clean when it comes to race.
CUOMO: You know, Van, sometimes when you guys are actually in something it’s a little harder to see what’s going on because you are focused on making these counterpoints. I think I have one for each of you that I think is what’s coming out here. What Jeffrey is saying to you is, what Donald Trump did with the KKK is a non-event. He didn’t mean it as a hedge. He didn’t mean it as a clever way of keeping them in his tent. He disavowed them and the left is using it anyway because that’s what you do with race. You divide people.
LORD: That’s it exactly, Chris.
CUOMO: Do you accept that, Van?
JONES: Look, there are some people who do that, and some people who aren’t. But, here’s what I said last night and here’s what I’ll continue to say: Donald Trump is not a moderate. He’s not somebody who doesn’t speak his mind. He is a passionate person. And when you talk about terrorism, he is passionate. When you talk about people being murdered for no reason, he is passionate. When he talks about ISIS, he is passionate. We have American terrorists. The biggest, strongest, longest terrorist organization in the United States is Ku Klux Klan, and you heard no passion. What I said last night was, where was the passion? If ISIS had endorsed Trump he would have said “I disavow. Move on.” He would have said, “this is horrible.” You saw none of that, and that double standard on terrorism, that double standard on black people being murdered is what we were calling out, and it’s right to call that out. That’s not playing the race card.
CUOMO: Jeffrey, that’s the part that’s difficult for people. The KKK is not a non-entity. It’s real. David Duke is the grand wizard.
LORD: No, he was.
CUOMO: There are still coming out and making statements. And why would you have to qualify how legit an organization they are today to condemn what they represent?
LORD: It’s not legit, Chris.
CUOMO: If there’s one of them, why wouldn’t you condemn it?
LORD: It’s not — well of course you condemn it—
CUOMO: Well he didn’t, that’s the point.
LORD: But he did, Chris. Over and over—
CUOMO: But not in that instance, and the question is why?
LORD: No — See Chris, you’re trying to — you’re trying to — I mean, I’m not saying this personally to you, but I just — the implication here that he’s, what? Sending a dog whistle to white supremacists?
CAMEROTA: Yes! That is the implication.
LORD: Right, right. But that’s because liberals play the race card all of the time. That’s what they do.
JONES: No, that’s not true. Can we have a whole hour on this?
LORD: You’ve been doing this for 200 years.
JONES: Oh my god. No, for 200 years we’ve been being murdered, we’ve been lynched—
LORD: Yes. Yes.
JONES: And that’s not — and for us to speak out against that, sir — for us to say — it’s not playing the race card.
Ugh’s all around. I wish more people in the media refuted this revisionist history nonsense. The fact they don’t is why right wing liars like Jeffrey Lord keep getting away with it.