CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson ‘Deeply Frightened’ By Trump-Fueled Racist Backlash: Black Journalists ‘Saw This Coming’


CNN Senior Political Correspondent Nia-Malika Henderson spoke powerfully about covering President Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House, telling Don Lemon that she’s “deeply frightened” by the racist backlash that she and other Black journalists saw coming.

On Monday’s edition of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, Mr. Lemon asked Ms. Henderson to describe the experience of covering Trump “as a woman of color journalist watching the last four or five years?”

“Listen, I, like you Don, and I think like a lot of African-American journalists, we saw this coming,” Henderson said.

“I remember being on panels talking about white grievance politics, talking about the ways in which Donald Trump was using racial division and racist language, and I might have been the only one saying that, and everyone else wanted to talk about the economy being the reason why people were flocking to Donald Trump’s presidency,” she continued.

Ms. Henderson seemed remarkably prescient when, in 2016, she called Trump the “chairman of the White Grievance Party” during a New Day segment in which the topic was Trump’s then (as now) refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, a refusal based on lies about election fraud.

Henderson went on to add that she’s “deeply afraid” of the conditions Trump has incited, the first of three times she expressed such fear in the space of a minute.

Right now, I’m deeply afraid, I’m in Washington, I came into CNN tonight, I had a military checkpoint and I had to show my ID before I got into this building. And that is all Trump’s doing. So it’s incredibly frightening.

If you read history, this is what happens, right? When there is progress by African-Americans and people who aren’t white, there is a backlash that’s happened throughout history. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing now, and so I’m deeply frightened for the years ahead for this country, for people who are going to be caught up in this backlash because white people are afraid of where this country is going, that is finally becoming a multiracial democracy.

And it’s only been that way for maybe a decade or so, and it’s because of the work of people throughout decades like Martin Luther King, like Shirley Chisholm, like Ella Baker. So yeah, I mean we’ve been off and on the same side of this, Don, the only voices saying “Listen, racism is real coming for this president,” but not enough people listened to us initially.

Many members of the media remain extremely reluctant to chalk Trump’s support up to racial grievance, instead citing “policy” and “economic” factors as drivers of some of the 74 million votes he received.

Watch the clip above via CN.

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