Is this news? No, but … this is CNN. Rev. Bill Owens, chair of the Coalition of African American Pastors, met with Donald Trump yesterday at the White House as part of a group meeting with African-American faith leaders. Don Lemon interviewed him for seven minutes attempting to get Owens to call Trump racist — and when that didn’t work, began attacking Owens for his equanimity (via Twitchy):
This is bad. Really really bad.pic.twitter.com/VmsGaYmo0y
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) August 2, 2019
Just what was the point of this interview? Lemon barely even asks about the content of the meeting, at least the White House’s input. All Lemon wants to know is whether Owens or the other meeting participants told off Trump about being a racist. When Owens doesn’t give Lemon what he wants, Lemon then accuses Owens of being a race shield for Trump by attending the meeting. He suggests to Owens that the meeting was just political cover for Trump’s recent attacks on Elijah Cummings — at which point Owens tells him that he’s been at the White House a number of times over the last few months.
“He consistently attacks black and brown elected leaders,” Lemon persists while lecturing Owens on Trump’s racism. “So why is that hard to believe, pastor?” Owens shoots back that Trump attacks “leaders of all colors. … He attacks anybody, and you know it,” scolding Lemon.
At that point, Lemon decides to attack Owens’ faith. “So as a man of faith, as a Christian,” Lemon replies, “you say he attacks anyone. It sounds like you’re condoning attacks? Is that Christianly or Godly?”
What the hell is this? First Lemon’s unhappy with Owen because Owen won’t attack Trump as a racist, and then Lemon’s unhappy because Owen points out that Trump isn’t picky about how he attacks. It takes some gigantic cojones to lecture a pastor on godliness and Christian charity while attempting to force him to call someone else a racist. Especially when that guest isn’t a public official, but just a faith leader who engages with the White House on occasion across multiple administrations.
And back to the original point — what about this was news? This was nothing but seven minutes of Don Lemon riding his personal hobby horse and crapping all over a guest when he wouldn’t saddle up with him. Lemon won’t be ashamed of this performance, but the rest of his CNN colleagues should be embarrassed.
Addendum: That’s not to shrug off Trump’s weird attacks on Cummings, which escalated yesterday into “petty cruelty,” as Allahpundit put it. Those aren’t motivated by racism, but by Cummings’ attempts to subpoena records related to his family members. Trump wants a personal war with Cummings because he wants people to perceive Cummings’ subpoena demands as personal, too. That’s the strategy behind all of the Baltimore stuff too, over which Cummings has no role at all as a Congressman anyway. And “Trump’s a racist” is also demagoguery designed at distracting people from actual issues. No one’s covering themselves in glory these days in public-square comportment.