Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign co-chair locked horns with a Democratic strategist during a heated CNN clash that also zinged host Chris Cuomo.
Nina Turner, a co-chair for the Sanders national campaign, set off CNN contributor, Hillary Rosen, with her interpretation of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. during a fiery segment on “Cuomo Prime Time” Thursday.
At issue was the intent behind King’s words in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” from 1963, which Turner referenced when she commented on the Democratic Socialism that is meant by Sanders which is “in the tradition of” President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“It’s very much in the tradition of President FDR,” Turner said. “That is the kind of Democratic Socialism that [Sanders is] talking about, even though [FDR] didn’t call it that … It’s in the spirit of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who, in his letter to the Birmingham jail, warned us — us being the black community — about white moderates.”
But Rosen argued that Turner had misquoted the letter.
“That’s actually not what Dr. King said,” Rosen interjected.
“He did say that!” Turner replied.
“What he said was we should be worried about the silence of white moderates,” Rosen asserted. “And what we have in Joe Biden is a man who is not silent. He has a long record.”
“How are you going to tell me about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Are you kidding me?” Turner said.
“He said it is the point that the white moderate wants things to be comfortable,” she added. “And instead of focusing in on that, the bigger threat is not necessarily the white KKK member but more the white moderate that is more comfortable with keeping things the same.”
“You know what? Don’t use Martin Luther king against Joe Biden!” Rosen interrupted. “You don’t have that standing. I’m sorry. You don’t!”
“First of all,” Turner shot back, “don’t tell me what kind of standing I have as a black woman in America! How dare you! First of all, you’re dipping into something that I have to say!”
“You have a lot of standing as a black woman in America, you don’t have the standing to attack Joe Biden using Martin Luther King’s words!” Rosen countered.
“I didn’t attack anybody. You’re taking it that way,” Turner argued. “Listen, don’t dip into what I have to say about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.! How dare you, as a white woman, sit up here and try to tell me what I’m supposed to feel, and what I’m doing right now!”
“That’s not what I said,” Rosen responded.
“Chris, I didn’t jump in on her though, and she wants to jump in on me?” Turner turned to Cuomo who had remained silent through the exchange.
“Nobody’s jumping in on anybody,” the CNN host said, announcing he was out of time.
“You guys are in the same Party. This is what you guys have to figure out. You’re in the same party,” he repeated. “And let me tell you, you’d better keep that same energy when you’re up against [President Donald] Trump that you have against each other because he is bigger and badder than I think you guys are ready for.”
Turner took to Twitter to vent, earning plenty or responses.
I saw that segment.
She was way outta line.
And Chris Cuomo piled on you with her.
— AmericanaBern1Down (@GernBlansten14) March 6, 2020
Rosen, whose name began trending on Twitter, also addressed the CNN segment and offered an apology.
On air thurs I said my colleague @ninaturner didn’t have standing to use MLK Jr.That was wrong. I am sorry for saying those words. Pls no need to defend me and attack angry black women. They have standing. I always need to listen more than I talk. We rise together
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) March 6, 2020
Good morning. I have nothing but the upmost respect for Nina, her experience as a person of color, and the fight she’s waging in this election. Wake up this morning to this: I apologized + I take full responsibility. I look forward to the rest of the primary seeking common ground
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) March 6, 2020
While the explosive segment prompted many reactions on social media, there was plenty of debate over Cuomo who was also roasted for his patronizing tone and failing to rein in the interruptions.
The self-important scolding was the worst of it. Even especially after he failed to do his job of shutting down the interrupter.
— Kitt (@Kittfornow) March 6, 2020
What is your point? That Chris Cuomo is racist? That he let the white woman talk but not the black woman? Did you watch the entire segment? Or just these 2mins? B/c she had plenty to say. Hilary’s point wasn’t fair but that’s part of debating
— Nicole ?? (@NicoleJ_4) March 6, 2020
Disappointed in Chris Cuomo. Very.
— Linda Shallash (@momosmomma) March 6, 2020
Another day another crack in the Democratic coalition.
Today it’s the left turning on *shuffles the deck* Chris Cuomo.
You hate to see it.#TDS carrying Trump to a blowout in November!
— Chuck Knoxx ?? (@kingchuck810) March 6, 2020
Chris Cuomo owes Nina Turner an apology ?
— GY (@veni_vidi_vici3) March 6, 2020
Chris Cuomo undercut the importance of the differences being articulated in favor of what he considers important. That seems like a problem, both in terms of respect and with respect to his job. Pretty straight-forward to understand.
— 1noculations (@1noculations) March 6, 2020
Strange how ever since SC we were being lectured by folks on Twitter about how right Biden’s POC voters got it, but they somehow all went to bed early when Chris Cuomo and Hilary Rosen reimagined MLKs words and told Nina Turner to sit down and shut up.
— We’re doomed. (@JoeNoPhoto) March 6, 2020
also fuck chris cuomo coming in at the end like he’s on some sort of moral high ground, scolding them like a dad
— jenny ? (@jennstirling) March 6, 2020
Chris Cuomo trending shows that you can’t really make common cause amongst groups that are really only interested in their own sliver of intersectional pie. The left is eating itself. Bon appetit.
— Hamlet of Manlius (@HamletofManlius) March 6, 2020
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