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CNN analysts bicker over Trump and 'black card'

The vitriolic back and forth between two CNN political commentators escalated into an on-air near meltdown Monday, ending with the anchor pleading for her panelists to respect one another.

The heated exchange bubbled over when Democratic commentator Keith Boykin questioned whether Paris Dennard, a Republican supporter of President Trump, is truly black.

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Dennard and Boykin, both African-American, began shouting at each other, over each other and past the other two panelists on CNN’s “Newsroom” with host Brooke Baldwin.

“Paris, shut up, please. For god's sake!” said Boykin, who served under former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBiden's climate plans can cut emissions and also be good politics Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College Obama: 'Hopeless' to try to sell as many books as Michelle MORE.

“So you're going to let him tell me to shut up?" Dennard, a supporter of President Trump's, told Baldwin. "Ken Cuccinelli did that to Simone Sanders and there was a meltdown. Don't tell me to shut up on this show. This is preposterous and you know it.” 

Dennard was referring to an earlier heated on-air confrontation Monday on CNN, in which former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli told Symone Sanders, a communications consultant for Priorities USA Action, to “shut up.”

"Get your guest under control. Get him under control because I will not come on this show to be disrespected and have my ethnicity attacked," Dennard told Baldwin.

Baldwin repeatedly tried to soothe the situation, asking for them to take their discussion off air and to “have respect.”

Boykin had been ripping Trump for failing to repudiate white nationalists, adding that he is “ashamed that you as an African-American, Paris,” will not admit that the president has failed on this front.

“Well Keith, I don’t need you to try to pull my black card. I am well aware of my blackness and don't need you to try to classify me as being one,” Dennard responded, saying that he is proud Trump had denounced the KKK and other hate groups in a press conference earlier Monday.

“Are you?” Boykin shot back.

"Keith, do not go there. Do not go there. I know what it means to be a black man in this country. I know and I experience racism on a regular basis by being a Trump supporter and by being a proud American who happens to be a Republican," Dennard said.

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As Boykin sought to interject, Dennard continued: "Keith, if you really want to get down to it. My family is from Georgia — Keith, let me finish!

"We have members of our family that went missing because of the KKK taking them up. So don't come to me and tell me what it means to be a black man in this country. I fought every day in the George W. Bush White House."

Dennard served as White House director of black outreach under President George W. Bush.

Boykin repeatedly shot back at Dennard, telling him to "calm down," that he is going "off the rails," and that he is being "very sensitive and defensive." 

The exchange comes after racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend, when white nationalist groups converged on the Virginia town.

Trump has faced criticism for stating Saturday that "many sides" were to blame for what had happened.