While participating in a panel on CNN Wednesday night, Trump media adviser Gina Loudon said presidents did "amazing" things without ever hiring minorities, even going so far as to cite the abolition of slavery as her first example. Loudon, who was participating in a conversation about how the White House refuses to state how many black staffers are currently working at the White House, was trying to point out that minorities don't have to be present for good deeds to be done.
What disappoints me is the division and the fact that we're having to count people based on their skin color. I don't like that ... you know, you look back on our history, and we have a pretty amazing history of overcoming slavery, of expanding civil rights, of women's rights, and a lot of those things happened under American presidents who didn't have any minorities at all on their White Houses.
Thank God we do. I looked over the list of the people that I know there and about one third of them are a minority or a woman. Those are great strides. Could they be better? Absolutely ...
The conversation on CNN was in response to a refusal by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to specifically answer any questions about black staffers in the White House.
After being unable to come up with a single name, Sanders said, “As I addressed yesterday, we value diversity, not just at the White House, but throughout the entire administration, and we’re going to continue trying to diversify this staff. We have a large number of diverse staffers from various backgrounds, both race, religion, gender.”
Following Loudon's statements on CNN, though, Angela Rye proceeded to explain on air why Loudon's opinion was so offensive to her. Rye said,
You are not going to be able to successfully name one black person who works in the West Wing ... so regardless of your points about slavery, which is nonsense, I hope that you R.I.P. those talking points tonight, they should never be resurrected, I'm telling you that it's a problem in this White House with the staff. And the reason why is because it's slim pickings, and you know why? Because nobody wants to go work for a racist.
There's not a single senior black person in the White House. And don't you dare say to me, 'Ben Carson,' because he doesn't work there ... this whole administration is nonsense, just like your talking points.
In response to Rye, Loudon said, "I understand your feelings on this, but here's my point: I have an adopted minority son with Down Syndrome ... and he experiences bigotry every single day in a myriad of ways. And I understand that you and I don't agree, but I would not support a president that I believed was going to be a threat to [my son's] future."
Following the live disagreement, Twitter exploded in commentary, but Loudon is not new to controversy. The Trump media advisory board member also recently weighed in on the NFL players' kneeling protests on August 11, saying on Fox News, "I don't think anybody is aware of exactly what it is they're protesting ... why don't they just do what they were hired to do?"
Following her CNN segment, Loudon took to Twitter, writing, "My goal is simply to have an honest exchange of ideas that can be built upon. Thank you for watching!"