CNN Pundit Dismisses Longtime Sessions Aide as Token Black
Rushing to smear Trump AG pick as bigoted, network contributor trivializes black supporter
A supporter of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions was labeled a token black appointment on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” Wednesday night, as Cooper led a discussion on Sessions’ qualifications to be the next U.S. attorney general.
William Smith, an attorney and longtime aide to Sessions, was debating CNN contributor Angela Rye, also an attorney, when she questioned Sessions’ past support of civil rights issues.
“Because you are the one black guy that [Sessions] hired on the committee doesn’t make him a civil rights leader, William.”
Sessions has been the focus of a concerted smear campaign from the Left, alleging he has not been an advocate of civil rights.
“Because you are the one black guy that he hired on the committee doesn’t make him a civil rights leader, William,” Rye said to Smith.
Rye, perhaps realizing what she had just implied, then stammered, and added, “I’m gonna leave it at that.”
The two-minute debate was heated because of the Left’s growing efforts to demonize Sessions, an Alabama senator since 1997, as a bigot and a racist, charges Rye happily made on Cooper’s show.
Smith fought back. Smith accused Rye repeatedly of distorting Sessions’ record on civil rights and race relations. Rye erupted near the end of the segment.
Smith, the former chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, took the remark in stride, saying, “You can leave it at that, because you have nothing.”
“You just don’t like the list,” Rye shot back.
Rye’s comment was extraordinary, because usually a media host will apologize for such an unfortunate remark.
Instead, CNN and Cooper seemed proud of their newsworthy exchange, highlighting Rye’s comment on their website.
The remark was denounced on Thursday by U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, in whose office Smith works as chief of staff. Palmer criticized Rye on the Thursday morning edition of the “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
“Ms. Rye came perilously close to asserting that William Smith was a token African-American on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Palmer. “He was the first African-American to ever serve as chief counsel for any member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Ingraham, the editor-in-Chief of LifeZette, said she was not surprised.
“If you’re a conservative and you’re black, you don’t count,” Ingraham told Palmer. “You can be calumnied … It’s despicable.”