CNN Guest: “I’m Black And I’m Not Living In Hell, Except For The Hell That Donald Trump Is Creating”
DON LEMON: Donald Trump’s message to African-Americans and the African-American community does not seem to have won him a whole lot of support.
Here to discuss, media executive Karen Mayo, the senior vice president of Content and Brand for Interactive One, and Stacy Washington, the host of the “Stacey on the Right” radio show.
Good to have both of you on. Thank you so much.
LEMON: So here’s Donald Trump talking about inner cities at the debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Our inner cities, African-Americans, Hispanics, are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street you get shot. In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands, since January 1st. Thousands of shootings. And I’m saying, where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Karen, I know you have a lot to say about this. What’s your reaction?
KAREN MAYO, SR. VICE PRESIDENT, CONTENT AND BRAND, INTERACTIVE ONE: Right. First of all, to pretend that Donald Trump, at this point, has any real vested interest in the well-being of African-Americans, I think is a waste of anyone’s time. I’d be curious to hear anyone’s argument that could support that based on any facts. At this point, we are pretty clear as a community that we’re not going to allow his narrative to define our decision-making when it comes to this election.
LEMON: Do you think African-Americans are living in hell?
MAYO: I’ve been black a long time and I’m not living in hell, except for the hell that Donald Trump is creating today. The hell that we’re dealing with today has a lot to do with how vile this person is against communities that look and feel like mine.
LEMON: Stacy, Donald Trump has had many opportunities to fix his tone and strategy when it comes to African-Americans, instead he says blacks are living in hell, he touts stop and frisk, he brags about getting President Obama to release his birth certificate. How does that win the black vote?
STACY WASHINGTON, HOST, “STACY ON THE RIGHT” RADIO SHOW: Well, I think first of all he has been involved in inner-city politics as far as a private citizen. Donald Trump — there’s so many photos of him with Rainbow Push Coalition and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
MAYO: Oh my goodness.
WASHINGTON: I mean, pictures from 20 years —
LEMON: But how has he been involved personally? What organizations if that — besides pictures?
WASHINGTON: Well, I just named them. Rainbow Push. He was working with leaders in the black community and New York City overall all of those years and giving money to their causes. And to address what you said about the outreach, what else is he supposed to do? He’s running for the presidency. He’s outlining problems that are facing inner city blacks. He never said all blacks were living in poverty. He was talking about blacks living in Chicago and other inner cities that are — huge crime.
MAYO: He said blacks are living in hell.
WASHINGTON: Well, are all blacks living in hell? I know I’m not. So I don’t say —
MAYO: Who is he to say how blacks are living at all?
WASHINGTON: Who is any presidential candidate to say how anyone is living?
MAYO: I don’t think that any other presidential candidate has dared to make a blanket statement like that?
WASHINGTON: Really? Hillary Clinton said they should bring black people to heal —
LEMON: But, Stacy, I mean, to —
MAYO: It’s unfortunate when other African-Americans tout —
WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton called us black predators, natural-born like we’re animals. She said we needed to be brought to heal like dogs.
MAYO: Ma’am —
WASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton talks about blacks in a way that is deplorable.
MAYO: Ma’am, you’re on national television defending Donald Trump.
WASHINGTON: Oh, please.
LEMON: So let me say this. Let me just put this on.
WASHINGTON: And you’re defending Hillary Clinton.
MAYO: I’m not necessarily defending Hillary Clinton.
MAYO: I’m defending black people. I’m here on behalf of African- Americans. OK.
WASHINGTON: Not all of them, because you’re not here on behalf of me.
MAYO: Not you. Not you.
WASHINGTON: And millions of others who don’t support Hillary Clinton.
MAYO: Not millions. Not millions.
WASHINGTON: Absolutely. If you can do math you know it’s millions.
LEMON: OK. Let me get in here. He did not — Stacy, in all fairness, he did not specify that it was African-Americans in urban areas or some African-Americans. He said black people and you walked down the — I’ve listened to it a number of times. I’ve discussed it here a number of times on television. He did not —
LEMON: It was not with specificity about which —
WASHINGTON: At the debate, he didn’t say — he didn’t give a qualifier but at numerous rallies he’s talked about inner city blacks and he’s been very specific. I’ve been listening to what he’s saying because there’s a lot to go through. He’s said a ton about this topic and I’ve been listening to it. He can’t think all blacks are living in poverty because he has blacks working on the campaign who are very well paid, and he has worked with blacks over the course of his career in television and in private business.
So all blacks are not living in poverty. I think mincing the words gets us away from the serious topic of what’s facing millions of blacks in America which rampant inner city crime, unaccredited schools, now water that’s not fit to drink.
MAYO: Systemic racism.
WASHINGTON: And if there’s anyone who can deal with it it’s Donald Trump.
MAYO: Mass incarceration, poor education.
WASHINGTON: Not Hillary Clinton.
LEMON: OK. Go ahead, Karen.
MAYO: I just think that it’s really unfortunate when — when other African-Americans tout this line that Donald Trump has kind of crafted in your lap.
WASHINGTON: Attack the candidate, don’t attack me. Don’t attack me.
MAYO: I’m not attacking you.
I’m really not attacking you. I’m saying, generally speaking it’s hurtful I think and I’m speaking on behalf of masses of black people who are clearly not pro-Donald Trump for any number of reasons, not to mention the ridiculous birther issue that he had every opportunity to back up from, to apologize for, and chose to do the exact opposite, and you would dare represent him in a forum like this to suggest —
MAYO: — that that is normalized in our community?
WASHINGTON: I am an American citizen and a veteran.
MAYO: We are a bit more sharp than that as a whole.
WASHINGTON: Someone who went overseas to fight for your right to have your opinion and I have my right to mine.
LEMON: One at a time.
MAYO: You have —
WASHINGTON: I absolutely will not allow her to sit here and vilify me for doing what white Americans and Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans do, which is choose a political party, choose a platform, and then stand up for it. I’m not voting for anything that’s against anything else.
MAYO: That’s fair but this isn’t just choosing a political party.
WASHINGTON: No. It’s not fair.
LEMON: OK. Go ahead —
WASHINGTON: It’s not fair for you to say that I don’t have the right to vote as I choose as an American citizen.
LEMON: Stacy, in the interest of time, let her respond, too.
MAYO: Yes. You have the complete right and I suggest that you do what you do. But what I’m saying is that you are not representative of most African-Americans when you sit here and pretend that Donald Trump hasn’t represented what appears to be one of the greatest threats to our community, to communities of color, to poor people, to women, to Muslims, the list goes on. It’s a fraud and it’s unfortunate.
WASHINGTON: It’s your opinion.
MAYO: It is. And many others that look just like both of us. Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you, both. I appreciate it.