CNN Commentator on Blackface Controversy: ‘On This, We’re Not Blaming President Trump’

By Melanie Arter | February 11, 2019 | 8:19pm EST
CNN Political Commentator Nina Turner, president of Our Revolution (Screenshot)

( - During a panel discussion on CNN’s “State of the Union With Jake Tapper,” Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D-Calif.) tried to blame the blackface controversy in Virginia on President Donald Trump, but CNN Political Commentator Nina Turner corrected her, saying, “Congresswoman, I hear you, but on this, we’re not blaming President Trump.”

“Jake, I cannot. I just can't. 1984, 1980, Gucci just a few days ago. This is not about President Donald Trump. This is about racism in the United States of America. Congresswoman, I hear you, but on this, we're not blaming President Trump,” said Turner, president of Our Revolution, described on its website as a “progressive political action organization spun out of Senator Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign to continue its work.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper told Diaz Barragan, “as the elected Democrat” on the panel, if Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring all resign, the Republican speaker of the House of Delegates will become governor. “You don’t want that,” Tapper said.


DIAZ BARRAGAN: No, but we need to think about doing what's right and what's right for Virginians and what's right overall. I mean, the race issue in today's day and age with the president at the helm who has been one of the most divisive presidents and, frankly, racist himself, is a conversation we do need to have. But looking at just the line of order and saying we're not going to do that because of the consequence is not the right way to do this.

And so for me, I would -- I do think we need to have this conversation and we should continue to have this conversation, but it has to be front and center. And we can't forget about the person who is dividing us and who himself is injecting this into the country to live up again and coming out again. We haven't seen it be this bad in recent time until the president has really made this a race issue whether it's about African-Americans, certainly he's doing it all over the board with immigrants, but we need to have this conversation.

TURNER: Jake, I cannot. I just can't. 1984, 1980, Gucci just a few days ago. This is not about President Donald Trump. This is about racism in the United States of America. Congresswoman, I hear you, but on this, we're not blaming President Trump.

DIAZ BARRAGAN: I'm saying he has divided this country --

TURNER: No , let me just say this.

DIAZ BARRAGAN: He is using --

TURNER: I am not going to continue to let politicians use this man as the excuse to deal with racism in this country. It's been going on for far too long in the United States of America. We need some real truth and reconciliation.

Yes, president Trump is a racist. There is no doubt about it. But as we have seen, Democrats delve in racism as well. We've got to stop making this about who is a Republican, who is a Democrat. I want to know who say humanitarian.

DIAZ BARRAGAN: That's right.

TURNER: I want to know who's going to stand up for people's lives, starting with black people's lives. Because when you take care of black lives everybody's life is taken care of. Everyone's life taken care of.

So no more about this -- these three men. It had nothing to do with President Trump. What Lieutenant Governor Fairfax is going through don't have nothing to do with President Trump. Northam wearing blackface don't have nothing to do with Donald Trump.

Herring, wearing blackface has nothing to do with Donald Trump. This is about racism in the DNA of this country, and I am over it. We are traumatized, Jake, and we are sick of it. Politicians need to stop playing games.

FORMER REP. MIA LOVE (R-UTAH): What is being said is exactly right. It's about personal responsibility for your own actions and things you've done. When he was 25 years old, it wasn't -- he couldn't blame Trump for his behavior at 25 years old. I mean, you can't --

TURNER: And in medical school.

LOVE: -- take responsibility for the things you do. And I think that that's a problem with Virginia governor is that first he said, oh, I'm sorry. Yes, that was me I'm sorry about the picture. Then it was like, well, I don't really remember, and his wife is keeping him from actually moonwalking. I mean, this is a person that does not know what were the appropriate levels are. I mean, he cannot -- he can't govern.

So it's absolutely time for him to go and wipe the slate clean, and I appreciate by the way the representative saying that this has nothing to do with what -- you know who is next in line and the risk of Republicans actually taking office. This has to do with right and wrong, and this -- these are clearly the wrong places for these people.


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