In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, CNN host Don Lemon had King’s nephew on as a guest and the interview turned into a complete train wreck.
Try as he might, and, boy, did he ever try, Lemon could not get Isaac Newton Farris Jr., to agree that President Trump is a racist. But the exchange proved to be instructive in the agenda of each man.
Setting the tone of the interview, Lemon first played a clip of King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, proclaiming that we’re living in “evil days” as a result of the president.
Farris suggested that Trump may be “uniformed” on matters, but he was clear that he did not see Trump as a racist.
“But the president, I do not think, is a racist as we have traditionally known in this country,” said Farris, who took part in a White House event Friday honoring his uncle.
Grateful to join @POTUS, @SecretaryCarson & pastor Isaac Newton Farris Jr., the nephew of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as the President signed a proclamation to honor Dr. King, a great American HERO whose persistence and courage changed our Nation. pic.twitter.com/fL0a5KyVY2
— Vice President Mike Pence Archived (@VP45) January 12, 2018
Lemon started out calm and respectful, but as he failed over and over to convince his guest that Trump is a racist, going so far as to declare what’s in the president’s heart, the CNN host’s demeanor became more aggressive.
Farris again explained that being “racially uninformed” doesn’t make you a racist, but Lemon responded by comparing Trump to George Wallace and saying some members of the KKK don’t think they are racist.
“I personally don’t think that President Trump is a racist in (the) traditional sense,” MLK Jr.'s nephew Isaac Newton Farris Jr. (shown here at yesterday's event) tells CNN. “I think that President Trump is racially uninformed or racially ignorant.” (Pool Photo) pic.twitter.com/MzVaVsFScA
— West Wing Reports (edited by Paul Brandus) (@WestWingReport) January 13, 2018
And while Farris’ point was that we have to be careful about throwing around the racist label, a point he made in a rational, intelligent manner, Lemon’s frustrations in not being able to convince Farris that Trump is “racist and ignorant of the fact that he is racist” soon got the better of him.
Lemon bemoaned how it’s “tough” for him to make such claims against the president of the United States, before turning on his guest for “defending” Trump.
“You’re not even part of the immediate family and people are wondering what is in it for you,” Lemon said. “Are you capitalizing off of Dr. King because you cannot believe that this president is not racist if you listen to what he says.”
Farris clarified that he was not defending Trump, but a principle, and explained how Trump is not a racist in the same manner as George Wallace.
“Donald Trump says, hey, black people, your community is wrecked,” he said. “Your black leaders have abandoned you. Give me a chance, is what he’s saying. He did not say, blacks, your community is wrecked and you’re subhuman and you don’t deserve a chance. He did not say that.”
Lemon had to leave it there as explained that they had run way over time, but it was a good interview in that you could clearly see a difference in a debate between one man with an anti-Trump agenda against a man more focused on solving problems.
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