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Watch: Jones, Lord Spar Over Trump, Racism


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CNN Political Commentators Van Jones and Jeffrey Lord engaged in a spirited debate about racism and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during CNN’s Super Tuesday coverage.

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Jones said, “[T]he things that Donald Trump has done, and not just in this race, are horribly offensive. … You can go back to the Central Jogger case, where he came out, and had innocent black kids winding up in prison.” Lord then cut in to say, “No, innocent kids.”

Jones continued, “I agree with you about a lot. I think that we have taken him not seriously, we have not respected his voters, but there is a dark underside here…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.”

After Lord said Trump didn’t “play funny with the Klan.” Jones stated, “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 then cut in to say the Klan is a “leftist terrorist organization.”

Jones countered, “You can put whatever label you want, that’s your game to play.” Lord countered that this was history.

Jones then responded, “You need to take a serious look at the fact that this man has — is playing fast and loose and footsie. When we 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. 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 then stated that Wright is “an anti-Semite.” Jones retorted, “Reverend Wright never put anybody on a post. And you guys play these word games, and it’s wrong to do in America.”

Lord then countered, “It is wrong to understand that these are not leftists.”Jones then cut in, “What difference does it make if you call them leftists? Call them chipmunks, they killed people, and you don’t play games with that.”

Lord responded, “You’re right. And you don’t hide and say that’s not part of the base of the Democratic Party. That has been, they were the military arm, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party, according to historians. For God sakes, read your history.” Jones then said, “I don’t care how they voted 50 years ago. I care about who they killed.” Lord then interjected, “I care about American history. It counts.”

Jones then stated, “You have stood with Donald Trump, and you have made a case for Donald Trump when nobody else wanted, and you’ve earned the respect of an awful lot of people, but when you do not acknowledge that he did answer that question with the passion he’s answered with other terrorist organizations. You do yourself a disservice–.”

Lord then jumped in, “He has made this point over and over and over again. This is a media thing here. Did he make a mistake when he –? Sure. But he has said this many, many times. I’ve gone back and looked. He’s well on record over and over and over again.”

Jones responded, “But it’s worse than, sir. It’s worse than that. That whole thing with those Central Jogger kids, he got the entire city of New York whipped up on this idea that these kids had done something wrong. And then when it turned out they were innocent, we all mistakes, he never apologized to those kids. And that’s a stain on him. And you can walk through time after time where he’s done stuff like that. The stuff he said about Native Americans being criminal organizations and mafias. He’s said so many –.”

Lord cut in, “Van, what you’re doing right here, what you’re doing here, is dividing people. We’re all Americans here, Van. You are dividing people. This is what liberals do. You are dividing people by race. This is what liberalism is all about.”

Jones denied this charge, adding, “The Klan divides by race, the Klan killed people by race, and he had the opportunity, and he didn’t do it tonight.”

Lord responded, “They did it to further the progressive agenda.” Jones responded that this was “absurd.” Adding, the Democratic Party of the South and the old days was a racist party, and you are correct, sir. They were a violent party. … But hold on a second, That’s not the Democratic Party of today. So what are you talking about that for?”

Lord answered, “It is the Democratic Party of today. The Democratic Party of today divides by race.”

Jones then said his seven-year-old son called him a “liar” not even knowing what that meant, because “He sees so much vitriol from your party, he brings that into our house. Now we got to have him watch Nick Jr. He can’t even absorb civics, because of what’s going on in your party, the circus wing in your party. Do not play, and tell this to Donald Trump, I know you, I trust you, tell Donald Trump, he needs for my children’s sake, for the children’s sake of America, if he is going to lead this country, he needs to be as passionate about what has happened to people people in my community as anybody else.”

Lord then said, “We have to be passionate about making sure that, as Robert Kennedy used to say, that this country is colorblind. We have to, as President Kennedy used to say, in that Birmingham speech, that race has no place in American life or law. That’s what we have to do. And we have lost that totally, because the Democratic Party insists on dividing people by race and it’s wrong. It’s morally wrong.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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