Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien called out her ex-employer for publishing a report about diversity in the Trump administration, suggesting they employ few — if any — African-Americans in leadership positions.
Amidst their discussion on Sunday about a growing war of words between President Donald Trump and former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman, ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl asked senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway to name the highest ranking African-American aide to the president. Conway provided Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson and Urban Development Director Ja’Ron Smith as examples — yet Karl found Conway’s answer insufficient.
The brief exchange prompted CNN’s Jeremy Diamond to pen an article for CNN Politics, titled “Trump has no black senior White House staff,” which includes a quote from NAACP’s Washington bureau director Hilary Shelton calling the Trump White House’s so-called lack of diversity “deeply disturbing.”
“It really is outrageous that such an important inner circle is not reflective of the great diversity of the people of the United States of America,” Shelton told CNN. “If you don’t have those that are familiar with the diversity of communities that really make up this great United States of America, then you can make decisions that are extremely problematic.”
O’Brien, the former host of the now-canceled CNN program Starting Point, responded to CNN’s tweet promoting the story, quipping: “Very terrible! But, uh, walk me through the senior black staff at @CNNPolitics or @cnn or, hey, I’ll take cable news….”
— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) August 14, 2018
CNN has yet to respond to O’Brien’s challenge.
Dewayne Walker, a marketing manager, sued CNN in 2015 for discrimination, accusing the news network of denying him nine promotions between 2014 and 2015 due to his race. In February 2018, U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story agreed to uphold a previous judge’s recommendation as the opinion of the court, granting CNN a motion for summary judgment.