A black woman calls out white supremacy — and is told to "shut up."
Even as some Republicans are condemning Donald Trump’s deplorable refusal to condemn white supremacists, they are still giving cover to Trump and the white supremacists in his administration — which even former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said is a real and significant problem.
Last summer, during the Republican National Convention, Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, described his pro-Trump propaganda outlet as the “platform for the alt-right” — and Bannon has received a special dispensation that allows him to continue running that site even as a government employee who works in the White House.
Yet Republicans who are willing to criticize Trump are unwilling to criticize Bannon, even though the white supremacists who descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend share the exact same bigoted views promoted on Bannon’s website and identify themselves as part of Bannon’s white supremacist movement.
One such Republican defending Bannon is Ken Cuccinelli, the former tea party attorney general of Virginia and a right-wing darling with virulent extremist views on everything from race to reproductive rights.
In a shocking exchange on CNN with former Bernie Sanders campaign adviser Symone Sanders, Cuccinelli tried to condemn the tragic events in Charlottesville while insisting that Bannon and other white supremacists in the White House are in no way to blame for them.
When Sanders dared to challenge Cuccinelli, he told her to “shut up.”
CUOMO: Ken, what are you disagreeing with exactly?
SANDERS: Apparently, white supremacists.
CUOMO: You know what white supremacists are about. You know what Robert E. Lee evokes. That’s what they use for the basis for coming to gather. What is your point of disagreement exactly?
CUCCINELLI: Well, my point of disagreement is that that was an excuse to bring these groups together. The local blogger who got the permit to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue then blew this up. That was an excuse.
SANDERS: And now someone’s dead.
CUCCINELLI: Can I finish, Symone? Will you just shut up for a minute and let me finish?
SANDERS: Pardon me, sir, you don’t get to tell me to shut up on national television. I’m sorry, under no circumstances do you get to speak to me in that manner. You should exhibit some decorum and understand that you are trying to defend white supremacy on this program.
Rather than immediately apologize for his behavior, however, Cuccinelli continued to defend himself — and Bannon.
“I keep getting interrupted,” he complained. “Eventually I got to stand up for myself. How do you make them stop talking when they keep interrupting you?”
“Them? They?” Sanders asked incredulously. “I’m sitting right here.”
When host Chris Cuomo insisted Cuccinelli could not talk that way on his show, Cuccinelli again defended himself, saying, “I can’t just be walked over.”
Cuccinelli then insisted that while the groups in Charlottesville were indeed hate groups, they had nothing to do with Bannon and the White House.
“Where I start to have a problem, Chris, is that when you want to go ahead and say someone like Steve Bannon buys in completely to all of this, and that’s the advice President Trump is getting, that just goes way way too far.”
Cuccinelli did not explain why it goes too far to tie Trump and his administration to the groups supporting him and spouting their white supremacy in his name, wearing his hats and claiming to have his support because he refused to condemn them by name.
After the show, Sanders called out Cuccinelli’s behavior on Twitter:
Everyday I get up to fight for the human dignity of marginalized people on int'l television. Only to be told to shut up. That is supremacy.
— Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) August 14, 2017
On Monday morning, Trump tweeted about “Obstructionist Democrats.” To date, he has still refused to personally condemn Nazis and white supremacists by name.