CNN political analyst April Ryan on Monday sought to racialize a recent report that President Donald Trump suggested nuking hurricanes.
“New Day” host Alisyn Camerota started by reading aloud from a then-breaking Axios report that Trump had repeatedly urged officials to explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States.
Camerota read: “During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, ‘I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?’ according to one source who was there. ‘They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?’ the source added, paraphrasing the president’s remarks.”
Trump later Monday called the Axios report “ridiculous.”
“I never said this,” he tweeted. “Just more FAKE NEWS!”
After some chatter on the CNN panel about Trump not being “science-based,” Ryan cut in, saying: “”We’re tongue-in-cheeking this. But this is the President of the United States saying something about that. And he brought in Africa … he’s called Africa a s—hole nation.”
“Africa is a continent. And what part of Africa are you talking about? Sub-Saharan Africa, where there are mostly black people? This is just crazy. There is a ripple effect that could happen for land, sea, for people, if he did something like this. For this man to think this. This is the leader of the free world,” she continued.
“Whatever,” murmured Angela Rye, another black CNN contributor.
“Well, he’s the president of the United States, Angela!” Ryan shot back. “Anything he does and says impacts people, impacts the globe. There needs to be someone who vets what he says because this is dangerous.”
In a January Oval Office meeting, Trump reportedly derided proposed protections for immigrants from “s—hole countries,” referring to majority black countries in Africa and elsewhere.
“Why are we having all these people from s—hole countries come here?” the Washington Post reported Trump saying, citing “several people briefed on the meeting.”
Trump later denied having made the comments.
How we got to April Ryan calling Trump’s reported interest in nuking hurricanes racist
Ryan and Rye have been some of the most vocal critics of what they characterize as Trump’s racism. Such allegations have been tied to his immigration policies and rhetoric, as well as his criticism of non-white political opponents.
The president and his supporters have denied that he is racist. Last month, amid claims that his takedown of House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, and the city of Baltimore, was racist, Trump told reporters: “I’m the least racist person there is anywhere in the world.”