During a heated discussion with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the veteran actor addressed the one-year anniversary of the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hughley, an outspoken advocate for social justice, slammed the president’s tepid response to last year’s violence, where Trump claimed there was blame to be had “on both sides.”
“There cannot be a moral equivalence,” Hughley said on the matter. “Either it’s wrong to be hateful and to promote violence and apathy and to be angry and believe in the supremacy of one race over another, or it’s not.”
“Now we have people quibbling about it,” he added, quoting people who argue that liberal protesters are “just as bad” as the white nationalists they oppose.
“If somebody oppresses me and I fight back, then I’m just as bad as the guy who was determined to take all my rights away?” Hughley said. “That’s where we are in America right now.”
Cuomo mentioned the president’s “both sides” comment in response to the rally, which the comedian argued was a reflection of the moral tone of the entire country.
“The bottom line in this country: it is wrong to be hateful and to lead people in hate and try to subvert other people’s rights and voices and to be brutal to them, or it isn’t,” he argued.
When asked if he thought Trump would disagree with that statement, Hughley issued a sharp response.
“I believe the president is a wanton racist, and I believe that America is not uncomfortable with it,” he said. “When you tell me 89 percent of Republicans support him no matter what he does, I’ll say this. I can’t say all his supporters are racist, but I can say, for them, being a racist is not a disqualifier.”
Cuomo brought up the “white extremists and white power people and the Qanon and the conspiracy crazies” who don’t see Trump is a racist, but his guest quickly cut him off.
“White men don’t get to decide what racism is,” Hughley said, shutting down the argument. “They were so bad at judging it every time it happened. They were bad at judging it during slavery. They were bad at judging it during Jim Crow. White people don’t get to play this game. You don’t get to decide what the rules are here.”
Watch more of their discussion below.