During an interview with NBC’s “Third Hour Today” show, reporter Sheinelle Jones asked Condoleezza Rice, the first African American woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state, about the claim that racism under President Trump has gotten “worse.” Rice immediately rejected the notion and called for the press to stop the “hyperbole” in its coverage.
“There are people who will say it feels worse now when we’re talking about race, or it just feels like a divisive environment,” Jones claimed. Rice completely dismantled the premise: “Look, it sure doesn’t feel worse than when I grew up in Jim Crow Alabama, okay? So let’s drop this notion that we’re worse race relations today than we were in the past.”
The prominent African American Republican continued to scold the reporter: “Really? That means we’ve made no progress, really? And so, I think the hyperbole about how much worse it is isn’t doing us any good.”
Jones, refusing to accept Rice’s stance that Trump is not responsible for the country’s divisiveness followed up: “So for people who say, you know what, it’s top down, it starts with the President, it starts with the words that he speaks.” Rice again shut her down: “Oh, come on, alright. I would be the first to say we need to watch our language about race….but when we start saying, ‘Oh, you know, it’s worse today,’ no, they’re not.”
Earlier in the interview, Jones continued to push her rhetoric when discussing the president’s recent comments about foreign influence in elections:
President Trump received widespread push-back when he said last week that he would be open to listening to foreign entities if they had dirt on his opponent. “Critics have suggested that he’s almost put a for sale sign on the upcoming election. Do you worry that he’s done that?”
Rice took her to task: “Let’s not overstate this, alright? People say things, the President has a tendency to want to say provocative things.”
Jones also asked Rice about special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report into Russian election interference and the idea of the impeachment of Trump: “Were you surprised by the conclusion of the report?” Rice replied: “Look, I guess Congress can decide. I think most Americans would like to move on.” Jones pressed: “Does the report warrant talks of impeachment?”
Watch the full interview at NBC, Third Hour Today.