CNN anchor Brianna Keilar claimed on Monday that she witnessed Tea Party protesters spitting on African-American members of Congress and calling them racial slurs when she previously covered the Tea Party as a reporter in 2010.
The incident that Keilar alluded to allegedly occurred on March 20, 2010, when thousands of Americans arrived in Washington, D.C. to protest House Democrats preparing to vote for Obamacare. While many reporters said they witnessed the incident, Breitbart News debunked it and found there was no video evidence that it ever happened.
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President-elect Donald Trump surrogate Jeffrey Lord was on Keilar's show Monday discussing how left-leaning protestors have been violent and destructive in the past.
"I remember when the American left was doing this to Lyndon Johnson and poor Hubert Humphrey in 1968. This is what they do," Lord said. "In our day, it's Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter. They go out on the street and they protest and they break windows sometimes or they get violent. This is what they do. Donald trump is just merely their latest opportunity to do this."
Keilar responded by bringing up her experience reporting on the Tea Party in 2010 during the health care debate.
"I mean, I've seen this on both sides. I certainly hear what you're saying about the violence, but I've covered Tea Party protests on Capitol Hill, where people spit on members on Congress, where African-American members of Congress were called slang terms, racist slang terms," Keilar said.
In April 2010, Breitbart offered a reward of $100,000 to the United Negro Fund for audio or video evidence to prove that that Reps. André Carson (D., Ind.) and John Lewis (D., Ga.) were called the "N-word" as they were entering the Cannon House building on Capitol Hill. However, nobody claimed the reward, Breitbart reported.
But, I have taken my search one step further. I've asked some of the contributors to Big Government to also actively search for video. We have spent the last three weeks searching for any evidence that might support the allegations, without any help from the accusers. The primary accuser, Congressman Carson, who audaciously claimed the crowd screamed the "N-word fifteen times," would not return our call. So we have gone part way to try and piece together the events of March 20.
Not only is the audio devoid of any racial slur, but the scene at Cannon clearly shows the congressmen coming down the steps completely unobstructed, and with a clear path to the Capitol. And, when we juxtapose the audio accusation Rep.Carson made moments after the alleged event occurred with actual video footage of the moment Rep. Carson claims he first heard the racial slur, it is as plain as day that Congressman Carson was not isolated by a mob and facing a racist throng that could conceivably hurl rocks at him. As you can see for yourself.
As for the alleged spitting the same day, a Washington Post columnist suggested that other media outlets may have mischaracterized the incident involving Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D., Mo.). The congressman claimed that a protestor intentionally spat on him as he was entering Cannon with other black members of Congress. However, a Youtube video suggests that he was unintentionally sprayed by a protestor yelling at him.
Cleaver was hit with spit, but whether it was deliberate is very much in question. The video suggests he was unintentionally sprayed by the screaming protester. The distinction is significant because it fundamentally changes widespread media characterizations of what occurred. The Post and other news organizations left the impression of a despicable, premeditated assault. With videos of the incident so prevalent on liberal and conservative Web sites, and with the question being so widely raised in the blogosphere and on cable channels, The Post was remiss in not providing clarity by quickly dissecting what happened. (Cleaver's office did not return repeated calls seeking comment for this column.)