Musician John Legend and political insider and former President Barack Obama advisor David Axelrod got into an heated exchange during a recent appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.
On Friday’s episode, the former Obama aide tried to make the case that President-elect Donald Trump really is not a racist. “The thing that I find offensive is I don’t think Donald Trump is a racist,” said Axelrod, who insisted that Trump is merely an opportunist who used white rage and racism to his advantage.
“It’s not just impolite,” Legend said. “It’s threatening people’s lives. If you think Mexicans come into this country to rape and murder your family, that means their life is threatened.”
After Axelrod made the claim, Legend and Maher verbally accosted him, reminding him that Trump and his father were sued by the Justice Department in 1973 for alleged racial discrimination at Trump housing developments in New York.(The case eventually was settled two years later after Donald Trump tried to countersue the Justice Department for $100 million for making false statements. Those allegations were dismissed by the court.)
The panel then erupted into a cacophony of inaudible banter.
At the end of the clip, Legend points out the serious repercussions of the president-elect’s rhetoric.
“This is not academic. This is not just a conversation of politeness and political correctness …,” Legend said. “[It] is about people’s lives and them being in danger because we have a racist running the country.”