Joy Reid Grills Former Trump Aide Ja’Ron Smith on Campaign’s Efforts to Block African-American Votes: ‘Don’t You Think That Is Racist?’


MSNBC’s Joy Reid confronted former Trump White House aide Ja’Ron Smith on a number of the Trump campaign’s post-election legal challenges, including a number of lawsuits that seek to block or invalidate hundreds of thousands of African-American votes in cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia.

The interview started out with Reid asking a simple question — but quickly devolved from there, as Smith and Reid repeatedly clashed, talking over each other, as he defended the Trump campaign’s many fruitless election challenges while proclaiming himself unaware of their merits.

“I want to start by ask you a pretty basic sort of bottom line question. Do you accept and believe that Joe Biden is the President-Elect of the United States?” Reid said.

“I think we should just let the nation kind of run its course on the investigations and lawsuits on dealing with the vote, and once that’s decided, we can confirm it,” Smith replied. “You know, I think if the election was leaning in Trump’s direction, we would want to run the course and make sure that every vote that was cast was appropriate.”

“What investigations specifically?” Reid said, following up. When Smith balked, Reid pressed again. “Give me a specific one. Name me one. Name me one that has not already been thrown out.”

“I’m not going to get specific, I’m just saying very generally…”

“But you’re the one who said it,” Reid cut in. “But hold on, you said that you think it should run its course on all the investigations, so you ought to know what investigations you mean and what you are alleging happened.”

When Reid pushed Smith to cite the number of lawsuits that the Trump campaign has won in court, she got a similar answer: “Honestly, I haven’t been following it…”

“Wait, wait, wait, you haven’t been following it?” a stunned Reid said in reaction. “But you’re saying — but hold on, you’re saying you can’t accept that Joe Biden is the President-Elect? You can’t name me an investigation you’re talking about specifically?”

Moments later, Reid moved on to confront Smith with the Trump campaign’s pattern of trying to disenfranchise votes in cities with large Black populations, which broke overwhelmingly for Biden.

“How do you reconcile as a Black man in this country and a voter,” Reid said, “the fact that your party, the Republican Party, continually is focussing on and going after and trying to invalidate the votes of Black people in Detroit, in Atlanta, in Milwaukee, and only doing that in places where Black people vote?”

“Well, I would validate that Trump got the biggest vote tally of African-American voters in 60 years,” Smith said. “We’ve had the best number of non-white voters since Nixon. And so I think…”

“No, no, no, no, no,” Reid broke in. “I’m going to re-ask you the same question, just as a black person in this country, how do you feel about — how do you feel about this campaign going after the cities where black people vote? Don’t you think that is racist?”

“I mean, you’re not even allowing me to talk and respond to you,” Smith complained, before making a grossly inaccurate claim about Black voter support for the president, which amounted to just 12% nationwide per exit polls. “As it relates to the city — as it relates to these cities and the voter turnout, a huge percentage of African-American voters voted for Trump. An historical number of African-Americans.”

“Do you seriously think that, do you think that’s why they’re going after these cities because they voted for Trump?” a smiling but skeptical Reid fired back. “That’s what you think?”

“What I’m saying is I don’t think it’s racist at all, Joy, because everybody in Detroit is not black,” Smith said. “There are some white voters…”

“The vast majority of people in Detroit voted for Joe Biden,” Reid pointed out.

“You’re asking me about racism in these different counties. I’m not for suppressing the vote. I want everybody’s vote to count. I encourage voter — I’m not for voter suppression,” Smith said, seeming to correct himself mid-sentence. “What I would say is that in all of these cities, you know, they’re not all-black cities. They have white voters there, too, so we’re looking at everyone’s vote and making sure everyone votes. I think that’s what the Trump administration’s looking at. It’s not a race thing…”

“It is!” Reid shot back. “Because these cities are where black people live, but it doesn’t bother you. I think you’ve made that very clear.”

Watch the video above, via MSNBC.


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