A CNN segment featuring Trump supporter Paris Dennard and Keith Boykin got very heated between the two men, when Boykin, who worked in the Clinton administration, accused Dennard of not really being black over his support for President Donald Trump. Dennard, who was the director of Black outreach under the Bush administration, was clearly incensed over his race being questioned because he’s a Trump supporter and a Republican.
Right now, President Trump is being criticized for his delayed condemnation of white nationalist and racist groups after the turbulent events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Violent skirmishes between white nationalist groups and counter protesters erupted, sending scores of people to the hospital. One woman was killed when an Ohio man—James Alex Fields, Jr.—drove his car into a group of counter demonstrators. Two state troopers were also killed when their helicopter, which was observing the protests, crashed. White nationalist groups descended into the city to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. While Trump issued a strong denouncement today, many are saying it was a missed opportunity (via the Hill):
Panelists clash over WH response to violence: Don’t tell me "what it means to be a black person in this country" https://t.co/j90XgtgJ8a— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) August 14, 2017
Boykin had been ripping Trump for failing to repudiate white nationalists, adding that he is “ashamed that you as an African American, Paris,” will not admit that the president has failed on this front.
“Well Keith, I don’t need you to try to pull my black card. I am well aware of my blackness and don't need you to try to classify me as being one,” Dennard responded, saying that he is proud Trump had denounced the KKK and other hate groups in a press conference earlier Monday.
“Are you?” Boykin shot back.
"Keith, do not go there. Do not go there. I know what it means to be a black man in this country. I know and I experience racism on a regular basis by being a Trump supporter and by being a proud American who happens to be a Republican," Dennard said.
As Boykin sought to interject, Dennard continued: "Keith, if you really want to get down to it. My family is from Georgia — Keith, let me finish!
"We have members of our family that went missing because of the KKK taking them up. So don't come to me and tell me what it means to be a black man in this country. I fought every day in the George W. Bush White House."
Boykin repeatedly shot back at Dennard, telling him to "calm down," that he is going "off the rails," and that he is being "very sensitive and defensive."
As Dennard and Boykin’s exchange intensified, CNN host Brooke Baldwin tried repeatedly to calm the situation and move the conversation along, which she did, though after multiple attempts.