From the March 29 edition of CNN's New Day:
CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Let's put to the side our brothers and sisters on Fox mocking [Rep.] Maxine Waters [D-CA] and saying that this is about her looks. It wasn't about her looks. It was a targeted comment about the hair. [Fox host Bill] O'Reilly apologized. He said, “I didn't mean it that way.” I think he called it dumb or silly. He invited her on the show. But what do you make of that kind of comment? Does it have a place in our political diologue?
JACK KINGSTON: Well, I think yes and no. I think you have to be careful when you have the stature of somebody like Bill O'Reilly. But I think there is a little degree of humor and silliness that we politicians and we in Washington have earned. People make fun of Donald Trump all the time. They call him carrot top. They say his whole skin is orange. They accuse him of all kinds of things. A comedian, a female comedian just made all kinds of snide remarks about Melania, and Melania can't buy a break in the press at all. So the measure of what we do to both parties, there are these ad hominem attacks on the person, and we make fun of the way people look. I do think it gets too far sometimes, though.
CUOMO: Jen Psaki, do you think that this was just kind of that ad hominem spirit of play, or do you think that this was something worse?
JENNIFER PSAKI: I think it's really dangerous to call it an “ad hominem spirit of play.” Look, sexism is alive and well. So is racism. We saw that last year in some places around the country. We've certainly seen it exist today, and I think we need to all be aware of that. Hillary Clinton made some interesting comments yesterday where she pointed out the fact that people shouldn't think this can't happen to them, because it can. I've experienced it. I don't think you could find a woman in Washington or many women who are working in businesses and at high levels around the country who haven't experienced it. So, I think it's pretty dangerous and irresponsible to talk about this as just a sense of humor. It's not funny to joke about women of color or to joke about gender. Nobody finds it funny. They shouldn't find it funny.
KINGSTON: But Jen, you're a tough person. Of any race, any sex, you're very tough. What I don't like is the left always runs and cluthes, “Oh I'm a woman. Don't say anything bad about me, or I'm a -- belong to a certain race.” It seems like it's always that card that's played, but it's OK to call the president of the United States “orange” and “red head” and all kinds of derogatory things and make fun of his wife right and left. It just always seems to me that there's a double standard when somebody from the right is being criticized: “Oh, it's funny. Make fun of him all day long on Saturday Night Live. Run the clips over and over again on every channel.” But when it comes to somebody on the left, we all say, “Oh, I can't believe he or she said that about them. Why, they're some of the finest people in the world.” To me --
PSAKI: Jack, I don't think sexism is a partisan thing. In fact, I have many friends who are Republicans. I have many women who are Republican operatives who have been incredibly kind and supportive to me over the years. So, I don't think this is a partisan thing. I don't think anyone thinks what happened to Melania is acceptable. But I also don't think that making fun of Donald Trump's hair is the same as making fun of women, a woman of color and her hair. It's different. It's just different in our society, and I think we have to treat it that way.
CUOMO: You get that, Jack? You get that there's a difference, or you say there isn't one?
KINGSTON: I just have to say, the difference is one's conservative, one's liberal, and when a conservative is attacked it's fun, it's humorous, let's run the clips over and over again, but the liberals --
CUOMO: So you don't think there's a difference between Saturday Night Live making fun of the president and a political commentator making fun of a black woman?
KINGSTON: Well, Bill O'Reilly says a lot of sarcastic things about Republicans and Democrats. He's a humorous guy. He brings on Dennis Miller, and he says all kinds of things.
CUOMO: Then why did he apologize?
KINGSTON: I think he wanted to be on the safe side and being cautious, and I think he's -
CUOMO: Since when does Bill O'Reilly want to be on the safe side of being cautious? He invites controversy. Why did he apologize for this if it was so safe?
KINGSTON: I would say in politics and in public discourse, we all throw elbows from time to time. And if we are going to get upset about it, we have that right as well. But I will say this: It always seems like it's OK to make fun of a conservative, but liberals are off -- you can't touch them. They're off limits. But to me, making fun of Maxine Waters' hair and making fun of Donald Trump's hair, I don't know what the difference is except for one's a conservative and one's a liberal, but it was a hair comment. It wasn't anything else. It had nothing to do with sex. It had nothing to do with race. When people say, “Oh, Donald Trump or Ronald Reagan, they dye their hair,” I never thought, “Oh, they are made fun of because they are a man.” Why is it when you say something about a woman's hair you're a sexist?