Tavis Smiley, a frequent critic of Barack Obama, returned to the fray after months of relative silence with more condemnation for the president during an appearance on Fox News.
The PBS host told Megyn Kelly that the president has essentially failed Black Americans, seizing the moment to tout his new book, The Covenant With Black America: Ten Years Later.
From The Gateway Pundit:
Megyn Kelly: On the subject of race, are we better off today that seven years ago?
Tavis Smiley: I’m not sure we are and I think ultimately the president missed a moment… On every leading economic issue, in the leading economic issues Black Americans have lost ground in every one of those leading categories. So in the last ten years it hasn’t been good for black folk. This is the president’s most loyal constituency that didn’t gain any ground in that period.
Smiley and scholar Cornel West have been engaged in a one-sided feud with the president ever since they were not invited to the White House during his first term in office. Both have delivered harsh words to the president, who has only ignored their saber-rattling.
During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press in 2013, Smiley said Obama’s remarks about race were too little, too late, and “as weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid,” reports BlackAmericaWeb. Smiley made the comment after the president invoked the death of Trayvon Martin in a speech, noting that he could have been the slain youth.
Obama is not the only one Smiley attacked during his media tour on Monday. He also slammed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump during an appearance on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos. He called Trump an “unrepentant, irascible religious and racial arsonist” for his comments about “undocumented immigrant criminals and calling for a ban on Muslims entering the country,” according to Raw Story.
From Raw Story:
When asked about his comment by CNN host Don Lemon on Monday night, Smiley repeated it and also said the news media is asking the wrong questions when it comes to Trump’s prominence among American voters.
“What troubles me quite frankly is that we keep talking about… Trump rising in the polls as if somehow this is happening miraculously,” Smiley 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. And we ought not cover him without condemning him for doing that.”
Unlike with Obama, Smiley found an enemy combatant in Trump, who called the talk show host, ahem, a “hater and a racist.”
Smiley fired back to CNN’s Lemon: “First of all, for a guy with a Wharton degree, he’s got to do better than ‘hater and racist,’” Smiley said. “Can we just remove the word ‘hater’ from our lexicon?”
The president and Smiley agree on at least one thing: criminal justice reform.
In response to a question from Kelly about whether he agrees with critics of the president who say he has diminished law enforcement by siding with activists in the Black Lives Matter movement, Smiley rightly replied that police harmed their own reputation by using deadly excessive force.
“Law enforcement diminished itself. You can’t shoot Black boys and Black men in the street and get away with it. This is not just a Black problem. Well, let me put it another way: It is a Black problem, but it’s White America’s burden. Look, there is something wrong in this country when you get to a point when police are no longer trusted,” he said.
We agree with Smiley on the point of police brutality. Do you? Sound off in comments…
Click here to hear his complete interview at Salon.