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Toobin says 'racial dimension' to Trump's attacks on black female journalists

CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Friday criticized President Donald Trump for his recent attacks on...

Posted: Nov 10, 2018 6:57 PM
Updated: Nov 10, 2018 6:57 PM

CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Friday criticized President Donald Trump for his recent attacks on reporters -- particularly African-American female reporters -- which he said have a "racial dimension" to them.

"There is a racial dimension to this," Toobin told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room." "The fact that the President is always -- the idea that this was some random selection of journalists he doesn't like is not the case."

Abby Phillip

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"It's always black people with this President."

Toobin's comments come after a tense week between Trump and the press, during which Trump used harsh language against CNN reporter Abby Phillip, CNN contributor April Ryan and PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor, all of whom are African-American.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Trump called Ryan a "loser" and harshly criticized Phillip for asking a "lot of stupid questions." Phillip had inquired whether Trump wanted acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to "rein in" special counsel Robert Mueller -- a matter of heavy speculation given Trump's objections to the Russia investigation and Whitaker's past criticism of it.

Blitzer noted that "there's a pattern that this President has in insulting journalists, especially female journalists, especially African-American female journalists."

"I think this was what seemed to me to be the question of the day, the most basic form of asking the President what he wanted his appointee to do in that job," Phillip replied. "I thought his answer was telling, or his lack of answer was telling, but it is also telling as a pattern. Just in this week, both April Ryan, who is our contributor, and Yamiche Alcindor ... they both attempted to ask the President serious questions, but we see an attempt to avoid questions that are difficult or tough. The answer to that question, Wolf, is extremely important and I think we deserve to get the answer to it."

On Friday, the National Association of Black Journalists released a statement calling Trump's attacks "appalling."

"The past two years have been filled with assaults on the media and Donald Trump's comments this week have reached an all-time low with attacks on three black female journalists," said association President Sarah Glover. "His dismissive comments toward journalists April Ryan, Abby Phillip and Yamiche Alcindor are appalling, irresponsible, and should be denounced."

When confronted with accusations of being racist, Trump has often said he is the "least racist person," including in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon in 2015.

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