CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday about the death of Ahmaud Arbery — and did not question or challenge her when she blamed the “rhetoric” of President Donald Trump for the shooting.
Father-and-son Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested and charged with murder last week after video emerged of the February shooting incident in which Arbery, 25, was killed.
When Tapper asked Bottoms about the video on Sunday’s State of the Union, she tried to blame the president (emphasis added):
I think that’s absolutely the reason that they were charged.
I think, had we not seen that video, I don’t believe that they would be charged. And it’s — it’s heartbreaking that it’s 2020, and this was a lynching of an African-American man.
And I think that, you know, my heart goes out to his family. But I think, again, it’s a part of this bigger issue that we are having in this country. With the rhetoric we hear coming out of the White House in so many ways, I think that many who are prone to being racist are given permission to do it in an overt way that we otherwise would not see in 2020, because you have to remember, Jake, you know, in cities across this country, even if local leadership fails, there was always the backstop of our Justice Department to step in and make sure that people are appropriately prosecuted.
But we don’t have that leadership at the top right now. It’s disheartening. And I can tell you, I have four kids, three of whom are African-American boys. They are afraid. They are angry. And they are afraid.
And I think that it speaks to the need to have leadership at the top that cares for all of our communities, and not just in words, but in deeds as well.
Tapper did not challenge Bottoms’s claim. Instead, he asked her whether she was a potential candidate to be Joe Biden’s running mate in the presidential election in November.
“I think I’m a pretty great person,” she replied.
Tapper did challenge Bottoms about accusations of sexual assault against Biden by former staffer Tara Reade.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.