President-elect Donald Trump is adored by many racists, including the Ku Klux Klan. So if somebody dropped the N-word on CNN, you might expect it to be a Trump supporter. But last night, white pundit Charles Kaiser, who was attacking Trump, dropped the N-word (2:50 mark in the video above) and was quickly scolded by host Brooke Baldwin. Kaiser falsely claimed that he was quoting Donald Trump's Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor Steve Bannon. With that said, despite the misattributed N-word quote, Bannon does indeed have a history of racism.
Charles Kaiser, a CNN.com contributor and author, was on CNN with host Brooke Baldwin and commentator Paris Dennard, a black man who supports Donald Trump. They were discussing a video of the racist alt-right conference, where Trump supporters did Nazi salutes and spewed bigotry.
Trump has said he "disavows" the alt-right, despite the fact that Bannon proudly described his website Breitbart as "the platform for the alt-right" as recently as this summer. Kaiser was pointing that out (along with many of Trump's other questionable actions). In the middle of listing off various deplorable actions by Trump, Kaiser dropped the line that landed him in trouble: "If you don’t want to support the alt-right, don’t choose as a White House Counselor a man who uses the word nigger, whose wife says that he did not want his daughters to go to a school with too many Jews."
Both Baldwin and Dennard were shocked by the comment, but Kaiser kept listing off his criticisms of Trump before Baldwin cut him off: "Charles, just a moment. I appreciate you going through all of this, but please don’t use the N-word on my show."
Kaiser apologized: "I'm sorry. I never use the N-word, except when I’m quoting someone who's been appointed by the President to the Oval Office, since this such a disgusting moment in our history."
Then the interview went on for a few more minutes before Baldwin directly addressed the incident at the end of the clip. "The more I've sat here and listened to the fact that somebody used the N-word on this show—it is not okay," Baldwin said with a shaky voice. "It is not okay, Charles Kaiser. I respect you, I enjoy having you on as a guest, but not okay."
She wrapped up the segment by adding, "By the way, the claim that Mr. Bannon used the N-word. I've never heard of this. So there's that. Take a break."
Baldwin is correct: Despite Bannon's racist history, there's no evidence of him using the N-word. Kaiser later acknowledged that as well and apologized. He explained to the Washington Post, "I do apologize for one thing in particular. I mistook Bannon for Sessions. I was mistaking the one for the other." Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) will likely be Trump's attorney general, despite being rejected for a federal judgeship in 1986 because of his racism. Sessions, according to the Guardian, did call a black Alabama official the N-word back in 1981.
Kaiser later told CNN: "I apologize to all those who were offended by my use of the word. But there is also a part of me that believes that you cannot convey the true horror of these early Trump appointments without using the actual words attributed to them."