A CNN panel erupted Tuesday night when Van Jones confronted Jeffrey Lord over his defense of Donald Trump’s refusal to disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan during a Sunday political show.
Lord, an adamant supporter of Trump, said that Trump had condemned the KKK after the interview and asserted that the entire controversy was a creation of the media.
Lord also went after House Speaker Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.
“I hate to say this about the Republican establishment, but their view of civil rights is to tip the waiter five bucks at the country club,” he said.
That comment set Jones off.
“The things that Donald Trump has done, not only in this race, are horribly offensive,” he said.
Jones said he agreed the media had not respected Trump’s voters, but argued “there’s a dark underside here.”
“He is whipping up and tapping into and pushing buttons that are very frightening to me and frightening to people,” he said, adding that Trump was “playing funny with the Klan.”
“I know this man, when he gets passionate about terrorism, I know how he talks about terrorism, the Klan is a terrorist organization,” Jones said.
“It’s a leftist terrorist organization,” Lord interjected.
“You can put whatever label you want. That’s your game to play! That’s your game to play! We’re not going to play that game,” Jones quipped.
“We’re not going to understand history?” Lord asked.
“No, you need to take a serious look at the fact that this man has been playing fast and loose and footsie. When he starts talking 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,’” Jones said.
Jones noted that Lord had previously gone after President Barack Obama for his association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but pointed out that Wright had never lynched or killed anyone.
“Hold on a second! Reverend Wright never put anybody on a post — and you guys play these word games!” Jones told Lord. “And it’s wrong to do in America! It’s wrong to do.”
“It’s wrong to understand that these are not leftists,” Lord countered.
“What difference does it make?” an exasperated Jones asked. “You call them leftists — call them chipmunks! But you don’t play games with that!”
Lord said that the “whole attitude of dividing by race is still here” and advanced by the Democratic Party. Jones said he didn’t care how the KKK voted 50 years ago, but did care that the group killed people.
The two continued to quarrel over Trump’s handling of the KKK flap, concluding only after David Axelrod interjected and put an end to the duel
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