Columns, Opinion

BERMAN: Jeffrey Lord is Trump’s provocateur with calm demeanor

Jeffery Lord, former White House aid under Ronald Reagan, has become a huge celebrity (in the pundit world). Lord began at CNN in 2015 as the network’s first pro-Trump contributor. If you met him on the street, you would probably be surprised by his friendly attitude. Beneath that endearing exterior, however, is a hardcore President Donald Trump supporter who would stick with the president even if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue. I’ll lay out three “exhibits” as to why I am correct, in a less hyperbolic way. Probably.

Exhibit A. During the presidential campaign when Trump was under attack for being reticent about disavowing David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, Lord defended Trump by calling the KKK the “military arm, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.” Lord also argued that Trump did rebuke Duke multiple times and that the media was perpetuating a non-scandal. What Lord doesn’t say, but what all of the other pundits were thinking or saying, is that Trump was being racist. Why? Because Trump is a politician who attacks his opponents hard. He put the “Lyin’” in front of Ted Cruz, he called for the killing of terrorists’ families and he called illegal/undocumented immigrants “rapists” and “murderers” (but of course “some are good people”). But for some reason, Trump made Duke seem like he deserves a second look, a weak rebuke, a light push away. Lord’s attack that the KKK is a Democratic branch is laughable. Since the mid-early part of the 20th century, the Democratic Party increasingly became the political home of African Americans. Which president passed the Civil Rights Act? A Democrat. Who was the first African American president? A Democrat. Please, Mr. Lord, blaming modern Democrats for KKK ties is like crediting Republicans for progressive thinking — not from this century or from most of the last.

Exhibit B. In more recent history, after FBI Director James Comey testified before Congress where he announced he had no information that Trump Tower was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama, Lord had an interesting take on Trump’s Twitter scandal. The rational pundits on CNN, yes there are some, argued that Trump was lying in his tweets when he said he was “wiretapped.” But Lord claimed Trump was speaking “Americanese,” the point being that Trump supporters understood him, but Washington insiders blew it out of proportion. Anderson Cooper responded appropriately: “What you’re arguing then is the FBI and the Justice Department are mistaken for taking the president literally because they don’t speak Americanese?”

But I do see Lord’s point. It makes sense that Trump would tweet about the former president of unlawful spying on him, but in a more figurative sense. Like how if on a test, I was asked “The United States has how many states?” I could answer 46 because what is a state really? Should we really count both Dakotas and Carolinas? Is Wyoming real?

Last, but not the least, exhibit C. Last week, Lord went on a Twitter spree, praising Martin Luther King Jr as “a hero unafraid to oppose judging by skin color.” Lord felt the urge to get his MLK praise on because the day prior he called President Trump “the Martin Luther King of healthcare.” Then Lord apologized by saying that you cannot compare the struggles of the two figures. Haha, just kidding. Lord actually quadruple-downed on his comments, pushed on by CNN wanting to milk all the attention this was getting. Here is one of the exchanges between Lord and Symone Sanders:

Lord: But think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of health care…
Sanders: Oh Jeffrey, Jeffrey…
Lord: When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn’t popular, he didn’t have the votes for it, etc. Dr. King kept putting people in the streets in harm’s way to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced. That’s what finally worked.
Sanders: Jeffrey, you do understand that Dr. King was marching for civil rights because people that looked like me were being beaten. Dogs were being sicked on them. Basic human rights were being withheld from these people merely because of the color of their skin. So let’s not equate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a humanitarian and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, to the vagina-grabbing President Donald Trump.

Let’s not Mr. Lord, please.

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