Alisyn Camerota welcomes Charles Blow and begins with a question: Is Trump a racist?
Blow laughed at the question and noted there were "very few issues" of policy where Trump hasn't been all over the place, but "this particular issue of hostility toward people who are black and brown is one thing that he's been consistent with his entire life. That means that this is really who he is.
"And if you -- and if you think that maybe it's not who he is, you should look for some place where he apologized, repented, asked for absolution. There is not one. And that means that he is -- and, in fact, he doubles down on it."
Camerota protested that sometimes he says the right thing when he's reading from a script.
"I can read anything, right?," Blow said. "But it is -- when you are talking, I want to know what you believe. And the pressure of the presidency, you're under a microscope. And what that does is it reveals who you actually are because there's no place for you to hide, right? And so there are people always in your face. Everything that you're saying is being scrutinized. That means that eventually whatever you believe -- You will -- you will reveal it. And so he's simply revealing that. I think the bigger question that we have to ask are basically -- really, the real test now is to move away from just looking at him to looking at all the people who are defending and supporting him," he said.
"Or being silent," John Berman said.
"Or being silent," Blow agreed.
"You cannot constantly, you know, come out in the moment and say, oh, he said a horrible thing, I denounce it, and then go to the White House when you pass that -- you know, you're giving away the store with a tax bill and say, he is the best person ever and he's the best president ever and we love him and he's just leading us in the right way. There is no space in there for you to do that. And that means that you are basically participating in the bigotry. You are part of it. I think people have the misconception that you can take the policies without the poison. And you cannot."
Camerota said the Republicans she interviews "are going to just stick with the policies and they're going to try to put this in a box and they're going to try to compartmentalize the stuff that he's saying because the policies are worth it. Why isn't that a good point?"
"There is no way to separate what Trump believes on a basic level from what he wants to do," Blow said.
"That meeting in which he said this was a meeting about policy. There is no way to separate the racism that's come out of his mouth from his intention with the policy. So I -- you know, this -- I think if you don't want a -- I get it. I get the desire to say, I've been a lifelong Republican. This is a Republican president. I would like to be able to agree with the Republican principles."
"Well, it's that, but it's also, we want tax reform," Camerota said. "We've always wanted it. And, guess what, we're getting it. We want immigration reform. We've always wanted it. And maybe we're going to be able to manage this so we get it. It's those things."
Blow argues that "a lot of the immigration language, even apart from Trump, has a racially skewed kind of sensibility to it."
"There's another element of this, which isn't just people saying, oh, we're going to accept it because we like other things. There are people who are making the case, including the White House, that the president's base will accept it because they like it, because they agree with it." Berman said.
Berman introduced a Jesse Watters segment from Thursday night on Fox.
JESSE WATTERS: If it's true, this is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar. This is how Trump relates to people. If you're at a bar and you're in Wisconsin and you're thinking they're bringing in a bunch of Haiti people or El Salvadorians or people from Niger, this is how some people talk. Is it graceful? No. Is it polite or delicate? Absolutely not. Is it a little offensive? Of course it is. But, you know what, this doesn't move the needle at all. This is who Trump is. He doesn't care. He shoots from the hip. And if he offends some people, fine. There's so many more offensive things that are happening in this world.
"That's an indictment. That is an indictment of the Trump base, right?" Blow said. "That they're basically saying, this is racist and this is how we talk and this is perfectly okay."
"And if the president talks like a drunk racist at a bar, then we get it," Camerota said.
Blow said the media keeps "trying to go out and say, we need to understand these Trump voters. I actually think I understand them."
"No, Charles, I don't because you can't say that that's how they feel," Camerota said. "Jesse Watters is indicting them. That's not fair. That's not how they feel, actually. I talk to them all the time. I never hear them say what the president said in the Oval Office. They don't say racist things like that."
"The mistake you're thinking is that you believe that white -- that bias and white supremacy has to be articulated to be true," Blow retorted.
"And I'm telling you that the moment that you let someone do these things and stay -- I know it before I go to the ballot and I am still going to vote for that person. I know it before they call me with the poll and I'm still going to say, I support what he does. That means that you have co-signed it. You have -- there isn't -- just because you do not articulate your biases does not mean that you don't have them."
"I hear you. I understand. You're saying it's a tacit approval. I get it," Camerota said. "But I'm also saying that you can't paint with a broad brush stroke about how they feel. You cannot put them all into a basket of deplorables. That's where Hillary Clinton went wrong and it -- it isn't right."
"I'm not Hillary Clinton. And I'm telling you right now, you're putting yourself in a basket of deplorables if you say, after he says the things that he has said and done, not only during his campaign, during his presidency his entire life, if you continue to say that I approve of his behavior, which is -- these are all the questions they ask in these polls. I approve his behavior. I approve his leadership. If you continue to say that, you are putting yourself in the basket of deplorables," Blow said.
Camerota said fewer people are saying they approve of Trump.
"And I'm just saying that the ones who do, and that's what I'm considering the base, the people who on those polls say that they approve of that behavior, you are putting yourself into that basket," Blow said.
"This has got nothing to do with me. I'm not doing that. You are telling me -- I read the data. I read what he says. I read what people -- how people respond. I listen to the people on Fox News. They are doing that. It has nothing to do with me."