On Fox & Friends, two black guests tearfully condemn Trump as the host insists there are “good people on both sides of this”
Gianno Caldwell: Trump “has literally betrayed the conscience of our country. The very moral fabric in which we've made progress when it comes to race relations in America, he's failed us”
From the August 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
ABBY HUNTSMAN (CO-HOST): Alright, this has become really a hot button issue and a big debate around this county. Wendy, where do you fall on this?
WENDY OSEFO: To be quite honest, the take down of the confederate soldiers monument in my home state of Durham, North Carolina -- it's beyond a monument. This is about hatred, this is about white supremacy. And to have Heather Heyer killed on U.S. soil by Nazis, Deandre Harris beaten and bludgeoned by Nazis -- this is not talking points here, this is not partisanship, this is human life. And as a mother, to hear the president of these United States not sit here and condemn what has happened, as a black woman of two black boys, my heart bleeds. This is not talking points here, this is personal and we as a nation, as a county, have to do better.
HUNTSMAN: John do you -- I mean sorry Gianno, do you agree with that? Do you think -- I mean, there are good people on both sides of this debate. We talk about keeping these statues up, people that I've talked to say this is about history. How do we move forward, how do we learn from those mistakes, if we just tear everything down?
GIANNO CALDWELL: I come today with a very heavy heart. Last night I couldn't sleep at all, because President Trump, our president, has literally betrayed the conscience of our country. The very moral fabric in which we've made progress when it comes to race relations in America, he's failed us, and it's very unfortunate that our president would say things like he did in that press conference yesterday, when he says, “Well there's good people on the side of the Nazis. They weren't all Nazis, they weren't all white supremacists.” Mr. President, people, good people, don't pal around with Nazis and white supremacists. Maybe they don't consider themselves white supremacists and Nazis, but certainly they hold those views. This has become very troubling. And for anyone to come on any network and defend what President Trump did and said at that press conference yesterday, is completely lost and the potential to be morally bankrupt.
HUNTSMAN: No --
CALDWELL: I am sorry. No, I believe that, and I'm being very honest. As someone who's been talking about these issues for a very long time, I'm sorry that this is where we are right now, and I hope the president learns a lesson from his press conference on yesterday. It's disturbing.
HUNTSMAN: Gianno, these are very sensitive topics --
CALDWELL: Very sensitive.
HUNSTMAN: -- and it's tough to talk about. And look, this country is all about free speech, so both of you have every right to come on here and be emotional and be real and be open about how you're feeling. What we're talking though Gianno about the debate of these statues, and whether or not they should stay up or go down. I mean, this argument that it's a slippery slope, where does that end? Where do you fall specifically on that debate?
CALDWELL: Well, first and foremost, people who are taking down the statues, they should do so legally. If you want to petition your government, sure, do so. Obviously you can't destroy property, that's against the law, that's obvious. But what we also must keep in mind that President Trump's comments yesterday is emboldening those who want to destroy property. And obviously that doesn't excuse their behavior by any means, but if you have a president in office, who's a moral leader, who should be a moral leader, who is saying things that people believe, they may take actions into their own hands and say, “Look, I can go about this because our president doesn't care.” My grandfather, James Earl Williams, who lived in Helena, Arkansas -- where the Klan, it was a hotbed of racism there, Klan activity -- who left the South to go into the North in Chicago, who called called me on yesterday, who said, “Look, when you get that opportunity, tell President Trump, he should take a look in the mirror and look at the people, not just the black folks who may feel marginalized by his comments, but the white Americans who fought, fought against slavery, fought against the marginalization of black folks in America, people of color, and even the Jews. Let him know that it's time to have a real conversation on race.” And as I did on Monday, when I reached out to the White House, I told them, I said President Trump must speak to this America -- this country, in very clear terms, very distinct terms, just like President Obama did, Senator Obama in 2008 when we had a national dialogue on race. It's time for us to have that conversation again. Absolutely necessary.
HUNTSMAN: Well, Wendy, look, he is the president of the United States, he is the commander in chief for all of us.
OSEFO: Yes he is.
HUNTSMAN: Last word here Wendy, what would you like to hear more of from the president on this?
OSEFO: I would like the president not to use inflammatory terms, we are all healing. We need to come together as a country, we need leadership, we need moral leadership. We do not need anyone who does anything nefarious to people, who are citizens of this country, to feel as though they are empowered. That's not what we're here for. People are hurting, my colleague on the other side of the aisle and I are both tearing up. This is beyond talking points, this is beyond partisanship. We need to come together as a country.
CALDWELL: It's not politics.
OSEFO: It's not politics. These are raw emotions, and our president needs to speak from his heart and bring us together, because right now, we are a nation divided.
Echoing Fox News, Trump defends Charlottesville white supremacists, says they were not all Nazis
White nationalists cheer Trump for assigning blame to “both sides” for Charlottesville violence
CNN's Jake Tapper blasts Trump for again equating neo-Nazi violence with anti-racist demonstrators
Tucker Carlson compares removing statues of Confederates to extremism of the Taliban, Khmer Rouge, and China