Fox News anchor Bret Baier pressed House Majority Whip James Clyburn about President Donald Trump’s role in several reforms that impact the country’s African-American community.
Appearing on Tuesday’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Clyburn criticized Trump’s executive order on police reform, which called for a ban on chokeholds and created funding for key training initiatives, as not going “far enough.”
“I think that what we’ve got to do is attack this culture that all of us know exists,” Clyburn said. “This is institutional. It was built upon two pillars that we seem not to want to deal with. One being white people came to this country of their own free will, who came here in search of freedom, running away from tyranny. The experiences of black people who came here against their will, chained, shackled and enslaved. And these two divergent pillars are the institutions of, in this country were based upon them—healthcare delivery, education, law enforcement — all built upon them.”
Clyburn said that policing “started out as slave patrols” and called anything short of attacking “the institution that is perpetuating this culture” a “Band-Aid on this problem.”
After Baier played a video of Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott praising the Trump administration for funding historically black schools, creating opportunity zones, and signing the First Step Act, Clyburn insisted that “none of that is true.”
“None of that’s true?” Baier pushed back.
Clyburn admitted that Trump “signed” the First Step Act, but said it was written by Democrats and suggested that Trump hadn’t read most of it.
“Well, the president signed that bill, but Cedric Richmond wrote much more of that bill than the president ever read,” he said. “So I know how that bill got done. Hakeem Jeffries wrote that bill. These guys were working on stuff in that bill for I don’t know how many years. How long have we been trying to get these things done? So they get wrapped into the bill, his son-in-law came up and worked with people to get the bill done, and the president signed it.”
“But Congressman, he did it,” Baier said between crosstalk.
“I mean, the administration did it,” said the Fox News host. “It wasn’t the Obama administration that did it … It was the Trump administration with Congress.”
“I didn’t come here to argue with you,” Clyburn said. “But you can argue it if you want to. It’s just not true, and that’s not the only thing that this president says that’s just not true.”
“Ok, I understand,” said Baier. “But you’re not giving the Trump administration any credit for the things that Senator Tim Scott has said it should get credit for.”
“Absolutely not,” Clyburn insisted. “I’m not, because he doesn’t deserve it. I’ll give anybody credit who deserves it.”
As an example of when he is willing to “give credit where credit is due,” the South Carolina lawmaker said he gave George W. Bush credit for “what he did on Africa, on fighting AIDS.”