What Is Up With Jeffrey Lord Comparing Trump to MLK?
CNN paid contributor, and Donald Trump surrogate, Jeffrey Lord made a very interesting and newsworthy statement during the usually stale morning news cycle, that President Donald Trump compares to the Reverend and Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.
During an appearance on CNN’s New Day program, Lord said Trump should be thought of as the “Martin Luther King of health care.”
In case you missed it, here is the entire exchange:
Fellow CNN commentator Symone Sanders, a Democratic activist, fired back immediately. saying, “Jeffrey, you do understand that Dr. King was marching for civil rights because people that looked like me were being beaten? Dogs were being sicked on them. Basic human rights were being withheld from these people merely because the color of their skin. So let’s not equate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize winner, to the vagina-grabbing President Donald Trump.”
Notably the African-American commentators were upset, and rightfully so. Lord was comparing Donald Trump, who even his own supporters agree he’s not the Pope, to someone who fought for equal justice which opened up opportunities for them and, quite frankly, who all of America owes a great debt to.
But the problem with Jeffrey Lord is that he isn’t just a tone-deaf partisan hack, but also his arguments are always just total crap, and this recent controversy is a perfect example. So rather than focus on the comparison of the morality of two historical personalities, as was much of the discussion on CNN, I would like to focus on the exact argument Lord is trying to make.
Jeffrey Lord’s Position
What Jeffrey Lord was trying to argue, which he also laid out in a CNN opinion piece, is in his fight for civil rights Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used a tactic of suffering in order to bring to light to the rest of the population a great injustice of inequality.
Donald Trump, is now threatening to refuse to subsidize healthcare to the poorest Americans, who would undoubtedly experience suffering. And just as the endless stream of beatings of black Americans by their government on the nightly news in the 60’s brought about social change and legislation, Jeffrey Lord believes that so too would images of today’s poor dying without access to healthcare thereby forcing the Democrats to join Trump in his fight to repeal the big bad Obamacare, which he believes everyone is suffering under because it is mandated by the government.
(Even though the Obamacare individual mandate was originally a Republican idea.)
Why He is Wrong
On one point Jeffrey Lord is correct, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his followers did use a tactic of non-violent disobedience which regularly involved the suffering of African-Americans, sometimes even creating situations that put themselves in a position to suffer. The resulting attention from people witnessing such an obvious injustice, such as armed state police beating defenseless non-violent citizens, would cause the rest of the population start to question the legitimacy of national policies, and forced their representatives in Congress to make legislative changes.
This part is not controversial, Dr. King was very clear he was following a civil disobedience playbook that was very successfully used by Mahatma Gandhi.
Along with marches and hunger strikes, Gandhi staged many mass protests that put him and his followers in harms way from a repressive British government that was ruling India at the time.
On example during the Dharasana Satyagraha protests, which was a protest against the British salt tax, was a non-violent raid of the Dharasana Salt Works. During the march there was a very real possibility that violence would be used against them, but they marched anyway.
(I know this was a re-enactment from the 1982 movie Gandhi, but this is how it actually went down as reported.)
When Dr. King organized his March to Selma, he and his fellow protesters knew the threat of personal harm was a possibility, as they had been attacked and bombed many times before, but they chose to march anyway.
Look at those clips, what did you notice?
Each protester VOLUNTEERED to receive their beating. Each person VOLUNTEERED to walk forward, look another man right in the eyes, and accepted the pain and suffering from physical harm they knew was coming.
What Jeffrey Lord fails to recognize in his shit argument is there is no growing mass movement of people under Obamacare volunteering to suffer so it can be repealed. This is President Donald Trump threatening to FORCE the suffering of 24 million people by removing the affordability of their healthcare, just so he can bring Democrats to the table for a deal to remove healthcare for that same 24 million people.
(Seriously whoever bought into this idea Trump was this master deal maker?)
There is a clear difference between volunteering for suffering to fight an injustice and forcing people to suffer.
This fight for equality is something that is so fundamental to Dr. Martin Luther King’s own beliefs, Jeffrey Lord severely misses King’s point.
So Lord has to know his statement was incompatible with Dr. King’s own explanation of his tactics, but was willing to twist logic to fit his own narrative. There is a word for this, “liar.”
CNN should let this man go, fire him, get rid of him, send him on a “planned vacation“, whatever it takes. Jeffrey Lord does nothing to add to the national conversation except at times like these, when we are astonished that he can make really bad arguments over and over and over and over again.
Jeffrey Lord a dark stain on a venerable news station, the same way the hiring of Corey Lewandowski, who was working at CNN while still working and being paid as a member of Donald Trump’s campaign.
CNN has to recognize this isn’t balance, it’s bullshit.