The Slatest

One CNN Pundit Accuses Another of Playing the Race Card for Criticizing Trump’s KKK Support

The candidates weren’t the only ones duking it out on Tuesday night, as CNN huddled together, like, a million of its top minds and squeezed them around tables with cameras pointed at them. It’s pretty standard fare at this point. The pundits pontificated, but when it came to the issue of the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacists’ endorsements of Donald Trump, and his handling of the situation, things got heated between political commentators Jeffrey Lord and Van Jones.

Just for a frame of reference, here’s where Lord’s allegiance lies:

The esteemed Lord, pretty firmly in the Trump camp, has an arguing style that is, well, crazy-making—with verbal flips and jabs and interruptions and contortions of logic that leave you exhausted. Not unlike Trump. During the segment, Jones took candidate Trump to task for not responding strongly enough to support from racist groups, a criticism that seems pretty universal at this point. Just ask Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Lord, however, defended Trump by saying that the KKK was a leftist organization, before interrupting with moral equivalencies, and, inevitably, accusing Jones, and Democrats generally, of playing the race card—in a conversation about the KKK.

Jones was clearly angry, and made a personal argument about the impact of the rhetoric on his son, but managed to maintain a medium-boil throughout the segment that Anderson Cooper allowed to go on, uninterrupted. Eventually the focus thankfully shifted back to Wolf Blitzer, and by the start of the following segment, Jones was gone and was replaced by another panelist.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.