Not content to simply call out Donald Trump for being an "unrepentant, irascible, religious and racial arsonist," Tavis Smiley has called out the media, too.
Smiley first made the remarks Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” and Trump responded by calling him a "hater & a racist." The talk show host doubled down on his comments in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday.
Racism underlies Trump's high poll numbers, said Smiley, and the media is complicit in selling it.
"It wasn't about calling him out, I tried to tell the truth -- and I think that's what you and I are supposed to be doing in this media business that we're in," Smiley said. "Donald Trump is an unrepentant, irascible, religious and racial arsonist."
"And by religious and racial arsonist," he explained, "I simply mean that when you go after people like Muslims, because of their faith ... when you go after people like immigrants, and there's a race issue involved here ... I don't know what else to call that."
Smiley then argued the media must do a better job of connecting the dots between Trump's popularity and support from the "night side" of America.
"What troubles me, quite frankly, is that we keep talking about … Trump rising in the polls as if somehow this is happening miraculously,” he said. "It’s happening in part because -- as your lead-in shows with these now white supremacists supporting him -- it’s happening because he’s appealing to a certain base voter in this country."
"He’s appealing to the dark side, the night side of America and that’s why he’s rising in the polls," Smiley continued. "And we ought not cover him without condemning him for doing that.”
On Sunday, a white supremacist group called the American Freedom Party acknowledged it had placed around 200,000 automated phone calls in Iowa in support of Trump.
“We don’t need Muslims. We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture,” a man identified by Reuters as Jared Taylor, editor of a white supremacist magazine, says on the robocall.
Watch the full segment above.
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