Trump campaign adviser dismisses White House diversity question, asks about black people in Lincoln admin

Trump 2020 campaign adviser Katrina Pierson on Sunday dismissed a question about diversity within President TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report 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?”

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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 Devi HarrisThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Dybul interview; Boris Johnson update Biden hosts potential VP pick Gretchen Whitmer on podcast Why Gretchen Whitmer's stock is rising with Team Biden MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's effort to delay election The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Trump discuss coronavirus response; Wisconsin postpones elections Wisconsin governor postpones Tuesday's election over coronavirus 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.