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CNN Panel Goes Off After Panelist Defends Trump’s Charlottesville Response: ‘Don’t Minimize This!’

A CNN panel got heated on AC360 tonight when one panelist defended President Donald Trump‘s infamous comments about Charlottesville.

Cooper was mystified at Trump claiming he answered the question the first time “perfectly,” an answer Cooper said seemed like it was from an “alternative universe.”

“I don’t think the president understands how painful this is and how dangerous this is,” Van Jones said. “This is, you know, the worst people in the country. The hatemongers, the violent fringe love when he does this. It’s not an academic discussion in a classroom someplace, this has political consequences in real time in our country. He is giving aid and comfort to a terrorist element in America. He’s got to stop doing it.”

Cooper asked Republican strategist Adolfo Franco how people chanting things like “Jews will not replace us” could be very fine people.

Franco argued Trump actually agrees with him and that “there’s either a disconnect here or an intentional distortion of the president’s words.”

He continued on to defend Trump, saying this “has really been quite unfair to the president” and that his infamous remarks “have been taken completely out of context.”

“This is a president whose son-in-law is an Orthodox Jew, whose daughter converted to Judaism,” he continued. “One of his key advisers who’s been vilified on immigration issues is Jewish, he’s the strongest ally of Israel.”

Cooper pointed out that Gary Cohn threatened to resign because of Trump’s response.

“Well, he didn’t, in the first place,’ Franco responded, “and secondly, there are plenty of Jewish Americans serving in the Cabinet… who see it completely differently.”

He argued that Trump has clearly condemned white supremacists and Neo-Nazis, adding that it’s “a small number of individuals.” Jones went off in response:

“No no no no no… Quit saying that. Quit saying that! ‘It’s a small number of people.’ If there was a small number of people whose job it was to go around killing white men, I don’t think you’d be saying ‘that’s a small number of people who decided they want to go and kill white men. Why are you guys so concerned about it?’ You’d say, ‘Hey, there’s a group of people trying to kill white men, do something!’ And so don’t minimize this.”

Jones scolded him for going too far in minimizing people’s concerns about “a terrorist movement in the country coming for me and not for you.”

Larry Sabato said he was there that horrible weekend and it was “not about the statues.”

“Look at the advertising that they put out for that weekend,” he said. “It had nothing to do with the statue of Robert E. Lee or the other statue of Stonewall Jackson. It looked very Nazi-like because that’s what it was. You mentioned some of the slogans, Anderson. The one that will always stick with me is ‘Into the ovens.’ That’s how wonderful and how fine these people were.”

You can watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac