April 30th, 2014
02:45 PM ET
4 months ago

Rep. Thompson doubles down on racial remarks in interview with CNN's Dana Bash

(CNN) - In an exclusive interview with CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, Rep. Bennie Thompson doubled down on controversial remarks he made about race over the weekend.

The Mississippi Democrat had argued Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a black conservative, is an "Uncle Tom" who doesn't stand up for African Americans.

In his interview with the New Nation of Islam webcast on Sunday, which was first reported by BuzzFeed, the eleven-term African American argued President Barack Obama has been mistreated by other politicians, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, because he is black.

Here's the interview between Bash and Thompson:

Bash: When you said Clarence Thomas was an "Uncle Tom," what did you mean by that?

Thompson: "Well if you look at his decisions on the court, they have been adverse to the minority community, and the people I represent have a real issue with an African American not being sensible to those issues."

Bash: Isn't that a racially charged term?

Thompson: "For some it is, but to others it's the truth."

Bash: Because looking at that and hearing that kind of language, that certainly wouldn't be appropriate if it was coming from somebody who was white.

Thompson: "But I'm black."

Bash: That makes it OK?

Thompson: "I mean, you're asking me the question, and I'm giving you a response. The people that I represent, for the most part, have a real issue with those decisions–voter ID, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act–all those issues are very important and for someone in the court who's African American and not sensitive to that is a real problem."

Bash: The other thing you were talking about is the fact that you believe some of the opposition, maybe even much of the opposition, to the president is because of the color of his skin.

Thompson: "Well, I've been here a long time. I've seen a lot of issues come before Congress. I've never seen the venom put forth on another candidate or a president like I've seen with this president and that's my opinion."

Bash: Are there specific things that people have said that are racially tinged that make you say that, or are you reading the tea leaves of what's going on?

Thompson: "I've seen quite a few State of the Union messages, I've never heard a president called a liar in a State of the Union message."

Bash: You think Congressman Joe Wilson was race based?

Thompson: "Well, I've never heard it before, it was a stupid decision...statement, but it has no real bearing."

Bash: last question, just broadly...Where do you think the Republican Party is right now on issues of race? You have younger people who are trying to reach out to the African American community. Do you see things changing?

Thompson: "You always see a change when you see the policies change, when you see programs that have been beneficial to the survival to African Americans in this country being cut, whether it's Head Start, nutrition programs, educational programs, job training programs. It's hard to demonstrate that you care about people when the programs that they hold closest to their survival are being put on the chopping block."

Bash: Were Mitch McConnell's comments were racist?

Thompson: "It had nothing to with that. The comments are insensitive. To say to a president that you're going to oppose anything that he puts out there is just totally..."

Bash: You think it was race based?

Thompson: "Well I've never heard him say it to any other president."


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. mustango

    @salty dog I admire your courage in recovering from the coma you were clearly in from 2001 through 2008.

    April 30, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. Malory Archer

    M

    You know a culture has a disastrous problem afflicting it when someone who is well spoken, educated, intelligent, successful, polite, and classy is looked down upon as an "Uncle Tom" by the rest of those that make up that culture.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    How do you know he's well-spoken – he hasn't said two damn words in the 20+ years he's been on the USSC. Polite? Yeah, not so much. As for "classy", that's subjective.

    April 30, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. Laverne

    People are watching, the world is watching and even if people don't say anything it is VERY CLEAR to people what is going on in the good ole USA!!!! The more things change, the more they stay the same!!

    April 30, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Dennis Freeman

    Good for him telling the truth. He should triple-down...

    April 30, 2014 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Amazed

    If Bennie Thompson were of a lighter hue, he would look and sound just like one of those fat, white rednecks who are always criticizing blacks. Fat boy needs to mix a few vegetables in to his diet.

    April 30, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @yolanda: "Sterling is an idiot. This clown is an idiot. The fact that he did an interview with The New Nation of Islam pretty much sums it up."

    By your reasoning, if a repub/tea bag is interviewed by Rachel Maddow, they are gay.

    April 30, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. blome Sarah blome

    Republikkklans are racist, period. It is put before you every day, republicans are trying to make their president a one term president and they obstruct him daily

    April 30, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. Gunderson

    Holy Take Responsibility For Yourself,
    Just Exactly does Bennie the "Dip" want Clarence Thomas to do for him? Liberal's have been giving away the store for the last 100 years. Bennie could have 10 things he wants us to do. After we done them, to his complete satisfaction, the next day he would have 10 more things he wants us to do. With Bennie and a lot of other "Complainers", it never ends. Get a life Bennie.And if you don't like it here i the U.S., I will leave you with the words of Eldridge Cleaver, former Black Panther who after many years on the run from U.S. Justice, came back and exclaimed, "I would rather be in Jail in the U.S. than a free man in any other country in the world." Good by Bennie.

    April 30, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. cmml

    Thompson is a racist. Period! Maybe he could team up with Gov. Quinn of Illinois and compare all conservative blacks to Jews who supported the Nazis.

    April 30, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

    angus

    So what I gather is that its ok for this gentleman to use a racially derisive remark against a fellow black who happens to be conservative, but if a white does its racist? Can we say double standard?

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What? Nobody cares if you call clarence thomas "Uncle Tom" regardless of whether you're black or white.

    April 30, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @salty dog: "Like it or not yolanda, he's spot on, I've never seen such contempt spoken so adamantly towards any president."

    It all started when Limbaugh gave the RWNJs permission to disrespect President Obama and hope for his failure. It's all part of feeding the hatred and paranoia of those who think electing a black president is the first sign of the apocalypse.

    And as Goebbels knew so well, fill a populace with fear and give them a scapegoat upon which to vent their anger and hatred, and you can lead them to act against their own self-interest time and time and time again.

    April 30, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Michigan patriot

    According to him, everything is about race. He is the racist here.

    April 30, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. amazed

    Liberals are totally insulated from charges of racism no matter what they say.

    April 30, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain: Don't like Congress? Get rid of the repub/tea bag majority.

    @M: "You know a culture has a disastrous problem afflicting it when someone who is well spoken, educated, intelligent, successful, polite, and classy is looked down upon as an "Uncle Tom" by the rest of those that make up that culture."

    Thomas is an unthinking, token perv.

    April 30, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    And yes my anger is borne of hurt.
    Enough.
    Enough with the willful ignorance, and rose colored-glasses.
    We've come far as a nation and some are using it to come out of their cellars into the light.
    You will NOT hide behind this man's election to say everything that's been brewing in your heart; things that you were not born with but were learned, inculcated maybe at home, maybe from God knows where.
    You will NOT turn around and smirk and say that we're playing the race card while you say and act in ways that are disgusting and against the Christian principles that you so love to spew.
    God bless our country and to hell with those that will keep us mired in the stench of their rotting souls.

    April 30, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Rusty Krus

    The term "Uncle Tom" is offensive, but it sure does seem to apply to Justice Thomas.

    April 30, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. Laverne

    Clarence Thomas is pathetic, not necessarily because he absolutely must not have mirrors in his house, but more because he is the silent justice who seem to go out his way to disparage blacks. He recently said of discrimination "everybody has a slight". How can you compare Jim Crow to a "slight" when folk lost their lives and were brutally beat because of the color of their skin. For some reason Clarence Thomas does not identify himself has black, maybe because he feel has arrived being married to a white woman. As far as I am concerned, Thurgood Marshall is the only black who has served on the Supreme Court, at least he was for all people and not just white people!

    April 30, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Hugh G Rekshun

    This racist pig needs to be run out of congress.

    April 30, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    mustango

    @salty dog I admire your courage in recovering from the coma you were clearly in from 2001 through 2008.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    So which elected Dem called the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a liar while sitting in the gallery during a SOTU address, and when did it happen? When did ANY elected Dem declare on inauguration day that their "number one" priority was to make the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a "one term president"? When did Al Gore or John Kerry behave like sore losers and go on TV to bash the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for ANY decision he made, much less EVERY decision he made – had the goddess knows, he made some doozies!

    April 30, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Speak. Truth. To. Bigots.

    April 30, 2014 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. ARConservative

    So sad are those who see everything as racial.
    With Obama, the most significant racist of our lifetime in the White House, I guess it is unavoidable.

    April 30, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. just saying

    clarence thomas does not subscribe to the black group think mentality and has become a successful person so he must be destroyed at all costs. if he is not and this black group think mentality is proven to be the loser it is, the existence of the black vote as a democrat block vote will be no more. thta is why conservative blacks are such targets. they are living proof of the failure of democrat policies.

    April 30, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. salty dog

    Now, if we can just get cognitive thought from you

    April 30, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "You know a culture has a disastrous problem afflicting it when someone who is well spoken, educated, intelligent, successful, polite, and classy is looked down upon as an "Uncle Tom" by the rest of those that make up that culture.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    How do you know he's well-spoken – he hasn't said two damn words in the 20+ years he's been on the USSC. Polite? Yeah, not so much. As for "classy", that's subjective."
    ====

    To be fair, Clarence Thomas is very well-spoken and articulate. The problem is that what he articulately states is wrong...oh so wrong...and complete ideological bullspittle.

    April 30, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. truth hurts but reality bites

    Rep. Thompson's mind is every bit as enslaved and in bondage as his ancestors bodies were. A very sad statement on him and his party.

    April 30, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
1 2 3