It's not surprising that a presidential race which includes an inflammatory reality television star as a favored frontrunner would have more than its fair share of bizarre moments. Donald Trump's entrance into the Republican race has certainly added an element of surrealism to this year's election. The latest bizarre moment of the 2016 election came from CNN's Super Tuesday coverage as Jeff Lord defended Trump's refusal to condemn the KKK.
Lord and CNN's Van Jones broke into a fierce and impassioned debate over both the political leanings of the KKK and how dangerous Trump's refusal to denounce them and distance himself from David Duke, a known member who recently voiced his support of the real estate mogul.
In discussing Trump as a presidential candidate, Jones said there was "a dark underside" to Trump, who he described as "whipping up and tapping into and pushing buttons that are very very frightening to me and very frightening to a lot of people."
"When he is playing funny with the Klan, that is not cool," Jones said. "I know this man when he gets passionate about terrorism, I know how he talks about terrorism. The Klan is a terrorist organization that has killed..."
Lord was quick to cut in that the KKK was "a leftist terrorist organization." Jones then accused Lord of playing games with his attempt to put labels on a group known for promoting a racist ideology.
The two continued to argue over whether the political leanings of KKK members in the 1870s or 1960s remained an imperative part of the narrative surrounding Trump in 2016. "You don't hide and say that's not part of the base of the Democratic Party. They were the military arm, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party, according to historians. For God's sake, read your history!" a fired up Lord said.
The pair's debate then progressed into an argument over liberals using race to create division among voters as Lord accused Jones of dividing people. "What you’re doing here is dividing people! We're all Americans here Van. You are dividing people. This is what liberals do! You’re dividing people by race!"
Lord claimed the KKK killed African Americans to "further the progressive agenda," which Jones dismissed as "so absurd," arguing the Democratic party has evolved from its earlier violent and racist form. Jones urged Lord to take an honest look at the racial undertones currently affecting the Republican party thanks to candidates like Trump.
There's been a lot of weird moments so far this year along the campaign trial: Vermin Supreme, that time Ted Cruz ate bacon he cooked on a machine gun, Jeb Bush's plea that his audience "please clap," and Trump's run in with a bald eagle to name only a few. But nothing seems stranger than a debate on whether it's acceptable for a presidential candidate to not completely denounce a group as hateful as the KKK happening in 2016.