White nationalist Richard Spencer appeared on CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper” Tuesday night, calling President Trump’s tweets directed at four congresswoman “racist.” Spencer added that Trump is running a “con game” and not truly advancing white nationalism.
In a series of tweets Sunday, Trump attacked Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, telling them to “go back” to where they came from. (Ocasio-Cortex, Tlaib and Pressley are all U.S.-born citizens, and Omar was born in Somalia and is a naturalized citizen).
“Many white nationalists will eat up this red meat that Donald Trump is throwing out there,” Spencer said in the brief, on-camera CNN interview. “I am not one of them. I recognize the con game that is going on.”
Spencer added: “He gives us nothing outside of racist tweets, and by racist tweets, I mean tweets that are meaningless and cheap and express the kind of sentiments you might hear from your drunk uncle while he’s watching ‘Hannity.'”
CNN described Spencer’s criticism of Trump as “a twist,” leading with footage of Spencer celebrating Trump’s 2016 election victory in front of a crowd of people performing a Nazi salute. After his sound byte, CNN correspondent Sara Sidner reminded viewers that the nationalist championed the Unite the Right rally and believes “whites should live separately from non-whites and Jewish people.”
Several viewers were shocked that the network even gave Spencer a platform.
“CNN invited an open white supremacist on national television today,” wrote reporter Carlos Maza. “This isn’t a news network with journalistic ethics. It’s a circus that’s willing to help promote open racists for attention.”
CNN invited an open white supremacist on national television today.
This isn’t a news network with journalistic ethics. It’s a circus that’s willing to help promote open racists for attention. pic.twitter.com/4Xcq3unW30
– Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) July 16, 2019
Muslim American commentator and comedian Dean Obeidallah tweeted, “WTF?!!!! This are the same type of people who threatened to kill me for criticizing Trump and now the guy is on CNN!!!”
WTF?!!!! This are the same type of people who threatened to kill me for criticizing Trump and now the guy is on CNN!!! CNN Gives Platform to White Nationalist Richard Spencer https://t.co/NSrftvmADU
– (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) July 16, 2019
Added YouTuber Steve Shives: “Putting resistance of fascists/white supremacists into effective action is often a challenge. But sometimes it’s as easy as DON’T F–KING INVITE RICHARD F–KING SPENCER ON CNN!!!”
Putting resistance of fascists/white supremacists into effective action is often a challenge. But sometimes it’s as easy as DON’T FUCKING INVITE RICHARD FUCKING SPENCER ON CNN!!! https://t.co/2f621q1zz7
– Steve Shives (@steve_shives) July 16, 2019
In response to the online backlash to his appearance, an unverified account linked to Richard Spencer tweeted three laughing tears of joy emojis.
– Richard ☀️ Spencer (@RichardBSpencer) July 17, 2019
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to denounce the president’s tweets as racist. Four Republican representatives and one independent joined their Democratic colleagues to vote 240-187 in support of the resolution.
TheWrap has reached out to CNN for comment. The network did not respond to a request for comment late Tuesday