CNN commentators Van Jones and Angela Rye took on two Donald Trump surrogates on Sunday after she suggested that complaints about systemic racism were overblown.
During a panel discussion about how the presidential candidates had responded to recent protests against police violence in Charlotte, Jones accused Trump of a "botched, zig-zaggy outreach to African-Americans."
"On the one hand, he sticks up for one of the shooting victims in Tulsa," Jones noted. "And then he turns right around and says, 'I want stop and frisk.' Stop and frisk is the most unpopular, the least effective and the most alienating policy -- period -- in policing in 20 years, found unconstitutional. And he reaches out for that."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), a surrogate for Trump, cautioned the panel to "be careful about how they talk about these issues on TV."
"It is imperative that we support a thin blue line," she opined. "It is what separates us from order and anarchy."
Turning to Jones, Blackburn pushed back on claims of institutional racism.
"You cannot say all cops are bad," the Tennessee Republican insisted.
Rye interrupted: "It's very important when we talk about institutional racism to understand where that really comes from."
"And what gets dangerous is when we pretend that history isn't is what it is," she continued. "So as we commemorate the first national museum of African-American history and culture, let us also acknowledge the very treacherous history of law enforcement and black people that [have] roots back to 1704 when you had the very first slave patrol. That is our first interaction with law enforcement. The foundation of the institution is horrible for us."
"And you pass those tales down by generation to the point where kids like me growing up -- now, I'm 36 -- are afraid of the police. And that's not for nothing, there's a history there... So, we can't pretend like this came out of nowhere and this is a new phenomenon."
Turning back the presidential campaign, Trump surrogate Andre Bauer defended Trump's call for nationwide "stop and frisk" policy.
"In New York, it did work," Bauer said. "So, he's trying to come up with a way to to fix a problem as someone who is looking at it from a bigger picture than worrying about what polls the best."
"What African-Americans want is an effective and fair policing," Jones replied. "When someone says there's institutional racism, they are not saying every single police officer hates black people. What they're saying is, something is happening where there's a bias, where an African-American kid wearing a hoodie seems to be a threat; a white kid wearing a hoodie might be seen maybe as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. And there's an unfairness there."
"When you start talking about data, when you start talking about trends, and somebody says, 'Well you just hate all cops,' that shuts down the discussion as well," Jones observed. "This stop and frisk mess needs to end."