Trump 2020 campaign adviser Katrina Pierson on Sunday dismissed a question about diversity within President TrumpDonald TrumpStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE's administration by asking how many black people worked in former President Lincoln's administration.
"I’m not going to participate in the attempt to make this all about race. It's ridiculous," Pierson, who is African-American, said during an appearance on MSNBC. "How many black people were in Abraham Lincoln’s West Wing?”
Pierson invoked Lincoln after Rev. Al Sharpton pressed her on how many black people work inside the White House. The question led to a heated exchange, with Pierson accusing Sharpton of attempting to paint the president as a racist.
"Everything has to be made about race, reverend. ... I’m not going to participate in the attempt to continue to paint this president as racist," Pierson said.
Sharpton then asked how Trump can appeal to black voters without hiring African-Americans within his administration. Pierson replied that there are "plenty of black people working in the West Wing" before bringing up the lack of diversity inside Lincoln's White House.
"Is Abraham Lincoln a racist because he didn't have a black person in his West Wing? This is insane. It's an insane discussion," Pierson added.
Activist David Brock later remarked that the lack of diversity inside the White House is a stark contrast to the diverse batch of Democratic candidates running for president in 2020.
Trump has faced widespread scrutiny from Democrats on issues related to race since he launched his 2016 campaign. Several 2020 presidential candidates, including Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisStowaway found in landing gear of plane after flight from Guatemala to Miami A sad reality: In a season of giving, most will ignore America's poor Republicans struggle to save funding for Trump's border wall MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Bernie Sanders' ex-spokesperson apprehensive over effectiveness of SALT deductions MORE (I-Vt.), have labeled the president a racist.
In March 2018, many on social media criticized the lack of diversity among White House interns after the administration released a photo of the mostly white class.