Dem lawmaker calls Trump a 'racial arsonist'

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on Monday tore into President Trump's track record of dealing with race relations in the U.S., calling him a "racial arsonist" who has a history of engaging in race baiting to advance his own interests.

Jeffries, an African-American lawmaker, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month shows how the president is a "racial arsonist" who caters to extremists and "fan the flames of hatred" by protecting the white nationalists who converged on the college town.

"His reaction to Charlottesville, which was clearly inadequate, unacceptable, inappropriate," Jeffries said in part. 

Jeffries also pointed to Trump's rowdy campaign rally in Alabama on Friday night, in which the president publicly blasted NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick in front of a predominantly white crowd for refusing to stand and honor the national anthem.


"[H]e went down to the Heart of Dixie in Alabama before an all white or mostly white crowd — the good old boys so to speak — and engaged in what many of us I think can fairly call race baiting," Jeffries said.

Jeffries said it was shameful for the president to go after Kaepernick and "a few black athletes in the NBA and the NFL" who are boycotting the national anthem to make a stand for the African-American community. 

"Some want to sugar coat the African-American experience, but the facts are the facts. As a community we have been forced to endure slavery, rape, Jim Crow segregation, mass incarceration, a lynching epidemic, now of course police brutality that continues to this very day. And, Wolf, it was that that prompted Colin Kaepernick and others to kneel down so that others might have the courage to stand up," he said.