From the March 2 edition of CNN's New Day:
ALISYN CAMEROTA: All right, that was just one small snippet of a fiery debate last night during CNN's super Tueday coverage. Commentators Jeffrey Lord and Van Jones got into this heated debate over Donald Trump and the KKK.
CHRIS CUOMO: All right, joining us this morning are our two esteemed commentators. Side by side, it should be noted. This is about arguments, not insults. It's good to have you both, gentlemen. So, with the benefit of time, Van Jones, does the perspective of “don't forget who these guys were,” the KKK, and what it means to your party, does that make more sense to you in the analysis of what it means today with Donald Trump?
VAN JONES: You know, I don't understand why the right-wing is so obsessed with trying to point out that the Ku Klux Klan, you know, 50, 60, 70 years ago was a part of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party, in that time, was a racist party and there were violent elements. That's true because obviously the Republicans at that time were the party of Lincoln, who ended slavery. And so -- but we've had a reversal over these past 50 -- my entire lifetime, I was born in '68. There's been that reversal. So, I think for African Americans, when we try to speak about the pain of the lynchings, we try to speak about the fear that we are having around every African American dinner table -- kitchen table about what does Trump mean? People thought, well 50 years ago they were Democrats. To us it feels dismissive.
CAMEROTA: Jeffrey, were you using a diversionary tactic to go back 50, 60, 70 years, rather than back two days ago to what Donald Trump said, where he did not give any sort of aggressive disavowal with Jake Tapper of the KKK? Why not focus on today and the race today we're talking about?
JEFFREY LORD: I would love to focus on today, Alisyn, and what I was trying to give was give historical context. My point is that race fuels the progressive movement, and has always fueled the progressive movement. Whether it was slavery, segregation, lynching, the Ku Klux Klan, to today's racial quotas, illegal immigration by skin color. You know, groups like La Raza, the Black Panthers. Black Lives Matter, et cetera. It's always about let's divide people by race and then here is the progressive agenda we want to enact. That's the connection to me, and it's a constant throughout two hundred some odd years of history, the Klan being just one of them. And, by the way, just not long ago when Occupy Wall Street was a big thing going, David Duke was a big supporter of occupy Wall Street right there with President Obama.
CAMEROTA: Van, what's wrong with that logic?
JONES: I have no idea what he's talking about. First of all, you're going to say that the people who are dividing America by race were progressives, were liberals--
JONES: Hold on a second. You had your turn, sir.
LORD: Yes sir.
JONES: I don't understand what you are talking about. If you look at American history, we were enslaved -- I'm a ninth generation American. I've been in this country for nine generations, my family. I'm the first person in my family born with all my rights. OK? I was born in '68. It was not progressives that were trying to keep slavery in place. It was not progressives that trying to keep segregation in place. It was -- Frankly people of conscience on both sides fought against that. But there's this weird strain now on the right that tries to pretend that their hands are completely clean when it comes to race.
CUOMO: You know, Van, sometimes when you guys are actually in something it's a little harder to see what's going on because you are focused on making these counterpoints. I think I have one for each of you that I think is what's coming out here. What Jeffrey is saying to you is, what Donald Trump did with the KKK is a non-event. He didn't mean it as a hedge. He didn't mean it as a clever way of keeping them in his tent. He disavowed them and the left is using it anyway because that's what you do with race. You divide people.
LORD: That's it exactly, Chris.
CUOMO: Do you accept that, Van?
JONES: Look, there are some people who do that, and some people who aren't. But, here's what I said last night and here's what I'll continue to say: Donald Trump is not a moderate. He's not somebody who doesn't speak his mind. He is a passionate person. And when you talk about terrorism, he is passionate. When you talk about people being murdered for no reason, he is passionate. When he talks about ISIS, he is passionate. We have American terrorists. The biggest, strongest, longest terrorist organization in the United States is Ku Klux Klan, and you heard no passion. What I said last night was, where was the passion? If ISIS had endorsed Trump he would have said “I disavow. Move on.” He would have said, "this is horrible." You saw none of that, and that double standard on terrorism, that double standard on black people being murdered is what we were calling out, and it's right to call that out. That's not playing the race card.
CAMEROTA: Ok, I like the exercise that Chris is doing where it's like couples therapy that Chris and I are in, where you have to mirror each other. So, Jeffrey, do you understand Van's point that Donald Trump needed to give a much more passionate, vociferous response to the question about disavowal the KKK and David Duke?
LORD: Sure, I take his point, but what I'm trying to say is if you sense a lack of passion in his voice because, frankly, the Ku Klux Klan is a non-entity here.
JONES: To you it's a non-entity. We have hate crimes -- I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt.
LORD: No go ahead, go ahead.
CUOMO: Jeffrey, that's the part that's difficult for people. The KKK is not a non-entity. It's real. David Duke is the grand wizard.
LORD: No, he was.
CUOMO: There are still coming out and making statements. And why would you have to qualify how legit an organization they are today to condemn what they represent?
LORD: It's not legit, Chris.
CUOMO: If there's one of them, why wouldn't you condemn it?
LORD: It's not -- well of course you condemn it--
CUOMO: Well he didn't, that's the point.
LORD: But he did, Chris. Over and over--
CUOMO: But not in that instance, and the question is why?
LORD: No -- See Chris, you're trying to -- you're trying to -- I mean, I'm not saying this personally to you, but I just -- the implication here that he's, what? Sending a dog whistle to white supremacists?
CAMEROTA: Yes! That is the implication.
LORD: Right, right. But that's because liberals play the race card all of the time. That's what they do.
JONES: No, that's not true. Can we have a whole hour on this?
LORD: You've been doing this for 200 years.
JONES: Oh my god. No, for 200 years we've been being murdered, we've been lynched--
LORD: Yes. Yes.
JONES: And that's not -- and for us to speak out against that, sir -- for us to say -- it's not playing the race card.
LORD: This is the party of Lincoln and Jack Kemp over here. Hello.
JONES: Hello? Well then, why at Donald Trump's rallies, today--
CUOMO: It's not Republican versus Democrat, Jeffrey, it's really just about Donald Trump owning what he said and why. That's it.