Here’s How Jelani Cobb Responded to Larry Kudlow’s Assertion That Trump Doesn’t Have ‘A Hate Bone in His Body’

"He's not a rookie politician, he's the president of the United States."

Last evening’s The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC featured the guest pairing of conservative commentator and Trump supporter Larry Kudlow and journalism professor and New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb.

The topic was, as host Ari Melber described it, the “entire sweep” of President Trump’s comments on Charlottesville, from “both sides” to “racism is evil” and back, but expanded out into a larger look at Trump’s history with race.

“He’s had this kind of belligerent and truculent attitude and some very troubling ideas about race going back for a very long time,” said Cobb. “I think maybe the mask slipped a little bit today and he felt that he was going to, I guess reverse himself. Maybe he felt compromised by having given the statement that he made that people actually praised and thought was the right thing to do.”

Kudlow followed with a defense containing some familiar talking points. “Today I think he’s perhaps gone too far,” he said. “You know, Mr. Trump, President Trump, if you hit him, he hits back, okay. Perhaps now this will end and he can get on with the business of growing the economy. I will tell you this, and perhaps you will suspend belief–I’ve known him for a long time, I don’t always agree with him and that includes on the air, but I don’t believe there’s a hate bone in his body. I do not believe that.”

Yes. It would take quite the suspension of belief for that one. Barring that, it would require adopting some unusual belief systems. Like, for example, believing in the power of hypnosis, and then using hypnosis to convince oneself that statement is true. Or, alternatively, it would require adhering to a rigid belief system wherein all statements uttered by anyone are true, under any circumstance. Or it would require amnesia and a lack of access to social and news media accounts of the last 24 hours, the last week, the last half year, the last election, the entirety of the public record on Trump.

Or, as Cobb reminded Kudlow, it just takes being on the right end of an oppressive system where ignorance of what happens on the wrong end is a key feature.

“You have the luxury of not believing that,” said Cobb. “A black church, a church with black people in it being surrounded by white men who are carrying torches don’t have the luxury of thinking that Donald Trump is somehow another, this great guy that happened to have made a statement that didn’t land well.”

Kudlow tries to absolve Trump of involvement, saying, “Trump was not a part of any of that.”

“But he defended it,” responded Cobb.

“He did not defend it. I don’t think that’s fair or correct,” said Kudlow.

“It’s praise by faint damnation,” said Cobb.

At this point host Melber interjected. “Let me ask you in another way,” he said to Kudlow. “When we see disconnected incidents of violence, we often hear calls for an entire community, sua sponte, out of the blue, as the lawyers would say, to say, ‘well because they go to this house of worship, they all now have to condemn this act of violence.’ This was much closer and what he seemed to come out and do today was not only dilute the condemnation, but say that at a white supremacist rally, not all the people there were white supremacists–is it good for the country, for him to go down that road?”

“I agree we are Americans,” Kudlow responded. “We should be united. We should make common cause with each other. And I don’t think Trump disagrees with that, okay? But I think this thing now has gotten out of hand. A lot of people will not, as I say, forgive Trump. I still will maintain, whatever errors he makes, remember, he’s still a rookie politician, there’s not a hate bone in his body.”