CNN Panel Dismisses Trump’s Speech Condemning Hate: ‘It’s the Arsonist Saying They Want to Help Put Out the Fire’

On CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, the show’s panel dismissed the sincerity of President Donald Trump’s speech condemning hate and white supremacy: “It’s like the arsonist saying they want to help put out the fire.”

Lemon and his guests were reacting to the White House address Trump gave earlier on Monday that read, in part: “Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”

However, the CNN host keyed up a highly skeptical discussion about the president’s rhetoric.

“The president reading off of a TelePrompTer condemned racism, he condemned white supremacy,” Lemon noted. “At rallies, in his Tweets, he says things that fuel those beliefs…and people who support them. We have seen this pattern before.”

“Right, it’s the arsonist saying they want to help put out the fire,” replied Kirsten Powers. “He’s the one who created the fire in the first place. The fact that El Paso is the place that he went to and demagogued and lied about this city. I think at a minimum it should make him feel some sort of culpability. If you look at the various ways he has used racial demagoguery to dehumanize anybody really that isn’t white. Frankly. There’s no question that he is not in a position to be claiming to be condemning white supremacy.”

Fellow panelist and The Atlantic writer Adam Serwer pointed to Trump’s own campaign strategy as proof his speech wasn’t sincere. “He did this in 2018 and he’s doing it now,” Serwer noted. “His advisers will run to the press and tell anyone who will listen this strategy of racial division is a brilliant strategy. As long as he relies on that, he can’t meaningfully condemn white nationalism. As long as the reelection strategy centers around scaring white people about the presence of people who have different ethnic background or are of different faiths in the country, he cannot meaningfully repudiate hate in the fashion he that he attempted to do this morning.”

Lemon then quoted from his guest Max Boot’s latest Washington Post column, where the former conservative called out Trump for “leading our country to destruction,” asked him to talk about the intersection between gun violence and the president’s rhetoric.

“You have had mass shootings in America for decade. They have been growing, at the same time in the last few years you have an increase in white supremacist ideology fuelled from the Oval Office,” Boot said. “Incitement and hate mongering from the Oval Office. And no desire to regulate guns from the Oval Office. Donald Trump is responsible for spewing hate and spewing inciteful, racist rhetoric and responsible for being utterly subservient to the NRA. Refusing to do anything to establish the most common sense gun regulations like background checks supported by 90 percent of the voters. To contribute to the slaughters in the streets, he cannot then say ‘I condemn racism and white supremacy and violence.’ He hasn’t done anything to stop the problems. He’s making them worse.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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