A CNN panel quickly derailed Saturday evening when a former spokesperson for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) castigated a former Republican congressman who suggested Americans “move past” the fact that President Donald Trump doesn’t address the issue of white supremacy.
The panel included Sanders’ former presidential campaign spokesperson Symone Sanders, former GOP congressman Jack Kingston (Ga.) and Lynn Sweet, the Washington Bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Video of the segment begins with Sweet lecturing Kingston about the importance of not “ignoring” the root causes behind Saturday’s protests and why it is imperative for Trump to specifically denounce white supremacism and not blame Saturday’s protests on “many sides,” like he did during a press conference.
Sanders expanded on Sweet’s comments by reminding the panel that it’s important to call out the cause of the protests because they led to the murder of at least one innocent person.
“Someone is now dead. I was in New Orleans last night at NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists) and I was looking on Twitter and I saw people joking about how these were ‘kids with tiki torches’ and fast forward 24 hours later and somebody is dead,” she said.
“Tonight is going to be a very important night in Charlottesville,” Sanders added. “What’s going to happen tomorrow? There are a number of people who are injured.”
Sanders continued to speak, presumably about the importance of denouncing white supremacism, but was interrupted when Kingston chimed in.
Kingston said he agreed that Trump should use the phrase “white supremacist” before challenging Sanders and all Americans to move past race.
“Don’t you think that you and I, as liberals and conservatives and Democrats and Republicans, should be able to move past that and say what are we going to do about—” Kingston said.
The comment set Sanders off and the two began to talk over one another.
“Jack Kingston! Excuse me!” Sanders interrupted, clapping between words. “We should be able to move past white supremacy? Never forget, black people—”
“The president has—” Kingston tried to say.
“No! Oh my goodness—,” Sanders managed to say.
As the interruptions and crosstalk continued, show host Ana Cabrera stepped in to give Kingston the floor.
“The fact that the president hasn’t used the term white supremacist, we as a people should be able to get past it. Maybe he will talk about it later on,” Kingston said. “I think most politicians and most leaders have weighed in condemning this. What are we doing besides blaming this on the president because his statement wasn’t good enough for everybody?”
“I think we should look at ourselves,” Kingston suggested. “What can we do to stop this violence across the land?”
Cabrera noted that Trump could issue another statement condemning white supremacism, but has failed to do so and actually doubled down on the “many sides”comment.
Sanders, however, was still upset over Kingston’s suggestion that Americans should move past white supremacy and she let him know it.
“Let me be really clear. I don’t want to hear anything else Jack Kingston has to say, specifically about moving past white supremacy,” Sanders said as Kingston tried to interrupt her and stop her from talking.
“We can not move past white supremacy in America because America has yet to reckon with white supremacy,” Sanders said pointedly. “I would love for one moment for folks to understand that this is more than just rhetoric — that these are peoples lives.”
The segment ended as Kingston accused Sanders of trying to put words in his mouth each time she referred to the comments he just made about needing to “move past” white supremacy.
Trump came under fire Saturday after he failed to denounce the white supremacy that drove Friday’s gatherings and Saturday’s protests. National leaders, politicians and influential members of the media near universally condemned Trump for blaming “many sides” and not white nationalism.
“Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism,” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) wrote on Twitter.
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