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CNN’s Brianna Keilar slammed for latest lecture to a Republican of color on race

It’s difficult for CNN’s more liberal anchors to stand out from one another, but Brianna Keilar may have found her niche: lecturing Republicans of color on racial issues.

Her diatribe aimed at Nikki Haley this week was just the latest example.

On Wednesday, “New Day” spent multiple segments going after the former United Nations ambassador for comments she made at the Reagan Presidential Library, but what really struck Keilar was when Haley, an Indian American, declared “America is not a racist country.” 

Keilar, a White woman, dedicated an entire monologue in her “Roll the Tape” segment, which is almost exclusively focused on attacking Republicans, to rebuke Haley’s defense of America. She pointed to a 2018 interview clip where Haley described the racism her Sikh Indian family faced years ago and a 2010 clip of a former South Carolina state senator using racist rhetoric towards Haley during her first gubernatorial run. 

The anchor then pushed back at Haley’s 2014 assertion that “systemic racism” was in America’s past by citing the 2015 Charleston church shooting that left nine Black Americans dead. She accused the former governor of “whitewashing” the “ups and downs of the American experience with racism and the challenges still ahead, all apparently to appeal to the conservative base,” while airing images of the Confederate flag being carried on Jan. 6 at the Capitol. 

But this isn’t the first time Keilar attempted to lecture a Republican of color on the subject of race. 

Last June, Keilar invited Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., to discuss the Congressional Black Caucus snubbing him despite his vocal interest in joining the group of Black lawmakers. However, she spent much of the interview fixating on his past support for former President Donald Trump, playing a montage of various racially charged remarks, and also invoked the freshman congressman’s support for voting rights bills she alleged would restrict minority voters.

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“Do you think that your defense of a person that said things like that might be incongruent with the mission of the CBC?” Keilar asked. 

“First of all, whatever the president said in the past has nothing to do with this discussion at all,” Donalds reacted before being immediately cut off by Keilar. 

He later added, “As a Black man in America, I’m allowed to have my own thoughts as to who I choose to support and who I choose not to support … My support for President Trump whether it is for or against is irrelevant. It has nothing to do with this discussion.”

During the 2020 election, Keilar used a similar tactic towards T.W. Shannon, the co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, using Trump’s comments from the first presidential debate telling the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” to grill Shannon over his support for the president.

“You know what faces the African American community is White supremacy,” Keilar said

“I do not need you of all people to tell me what’s facing my community,” Shannon shot back. “I’m offended by that and you should apologize for it.”

“I’m not apologizing for the fact that the Trump administration … says that White supremacy is the greatest threat to the U.S. That is the Trump administration. Should they apologize?” Keilar doubled down. 

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Shannon invoked then-candidate Joe Biden’s record with the Black community, which Keilar ignored and instead chose to ask her guest, “Why did the president not condemn White supremacists?” After Shannon corrected her that Trump has repeatedly condemned White supremacy, Keilar moved the goalpost by insisting Trump hasn’t done so “adequately.”

Later, as Shannon attempted to tout Trump’s record for Black Americans prior to the pandemic, Keilar kept hammering the conservative guest by citing the current Black unemployment and the COVID death rates in the Black community, suggesting the president was to blame. 

“If you’re going to have me on as a guest, you’ve got to let me talk and answer the questions,” Shannon said.

“You’re saying a bunch of crap,” Keilar dismissed Shannon. 

“The idea that you would try to lay at President Trump’s feet the fact that people died from a pandemic, I think that’s unconscionable,” Shannon told the CNN anchor. “You should be embarrassed for promulgating that nonsense.” 

She concluded the hostile interview by telling Shannon, “I wish I could say it was a pleasure having you on.”

Keilar’s condescending tone towards people of color who identify themselves as Republicans dates back as early as 2015, when she grilled South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, R., over his use of the phrase “all lives matter.”

“People who associate with Black Lives Matter- they hear that as an oppositional statement to them,” Keilar told Scott, who is Black. “To them, they hear that there’s no acknowledgment that Black lives matter and that is something rebuffing their slogan.”

“When you say that, what is your reaction to that if that’s something that causes offense to people who are part of the movement?” Keilar asked. 

“Well, I will tell you if it causes offense that I say that all lives matter, Black lives, White lives, police officers, jurists, all of us, even politicians, all of our lives matter,” Scott responded. “If that’s somehow offensive to someone, that’s their issue, not mine, to be honest with you.”

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Fox News contributor Joe Concha said Friday on “Fox & Friends First” the low-rated CNN morning show has struggled this year as the liberal network overall has hemorrhaged viewers.

“This is what CNN does. … They play the race card from the bottom of the deck,” he said, adding the network has almost entirely banished any pro-Trump or Republican voices from its airwaves and many of their hosts should not be labeled as objective “anchors.”

Keilar did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

Appearing on Thursday’s “The Faulkner Focus,” Haley offered a fiery response to the CNN anchor’s rhetoric about her, noting, “It sounds like I hit a nerve.”

“It’s amazing to me how the liberal media can’t stand it when someone Black or Brown happens to talk about the fact that America is the best country in the world. The fact that we are blessed to be free and blessed to live in America. I’m going to keep saying it,” Haley told Fox News’ Harris Faulkner. 

We’re not a perfect country, Haley said, but she was raised to have hope and saw it in ways her family was welcomed by people who looked different in her southern town.

“They started to talk to us and they welcomed us in. And that’s the part of America that I was raised in. That’s the part of America I’m proud of. And that same state elected me as the first female and first minority governor and you can’t say that we’re a racist country. You just can’t. And they can’t stand it when a Brown Republican says that,” she added.

Joseph A. Wulfsohn is a media reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @JosephWulfsohn.

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