Politics

Former Anchor Calls Out CNN’s Lily-White Leadership Ranks

Soledad O'Brien rips the network for hypocrisy in blasting lack of diversity of WH senior staff members

Image Credit: Screenshot, YouTube

Former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien rebuked the network Monday night for criticizing the lack of black senior officials in President Donald Trump’s White House — when the network itself has no blacks at all in its top executive ranks.

“Very terrible! But, uh, walk me through the senior black staff at @CNNPolitics or @cnn or, hey, I’ll take cable news….” O’Brien (pictured above) wrote when she retweeted a CNN post peddling an article called, “Trump has no black senior White House staff.”

O’Brien, now the anchor and producer of Hearst Television’s “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien,” co-anchored CNN’s former “American Morning” program and anchored the network’s former “Starting Point” program.

CNN published its “Trump has no black senior White House staff” article amid the frenzied news coverage surrounding former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman’s press tour touting her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.”

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Prior to her firing in December, Manigault Newman was the only senior black White House aide.

“Only a handful of his senior staff are of Latino, Asian or Arab descent, according to a CNN review of 48 senior White House officials,” CNN’s Jeremy Diamond wrote in the article. “In the eight months since Manigault Newman was fired, Trump has yet to appoint a single African-American to a senior White House role as either an assistant or a deputy assistant to the President.”

But a glance at CNN’s leadership page reveals that none of the 15 executives are black. Six of the executives are women. CNN has also faced racial discrimination lawsuits over the past few years.

But those realities didn’t stop CNN from emphasizing the lack of black senior White House aides in Trump’s White House. Other networks also used Manigault Newman’s publicity hounding as an opportunity to question whether the president is a racist.

When White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week,” guest anchor Jon Karl cornered her about the White House’s lack of black senior aides following Manigault Newman’s firing.

“Omarosa was the most prominent, high-level African-American serving in the West Wing on the President Trump’s staff. Who now is that person? Who is the most prominent, high-level adviser to the president on the West Wing staff right now?” Karl wanted to know.

Related: Trump Campaign Files Complaint Against Omarosa Over Confidentiality Agreement

Conway stumbled over her answer. Although she couldn’t name a senior black White House aide, she pointed to Ja’Ron Smith, a special assistant to the president for domestic policy. She also ripped networks for repeatedly ignoring Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s place in the Trump administration.

“If you’re going by that and not by the actions of the president, which you probably should, then you should look at the fact that we have a number of different minorities and the fact is that this president is doing well for all Americans,” Conway insisted.

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