Pres. Trump says he’s getting “rave reviews” for his decision to commute the prison sentence of longtime ally Roger Stone.
Roger Stone, whose prison sentence for lying to Congress and witness tampering was commuted this month by President Donald Trump, called a Black radio host a “Negro” during a contentious interview Saturday.
During the interview, Morris O’Kelly, the host of the Los Angeles-based “Mo’Kelly Show,” confronted Stone about Trump’s decision to commute his sentence. Trump and Stone are longtime friends, and Stone was convicted for obstructing the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives interfering in the 2016 election.
Critics said the commutation of Stone’s sentence smacked of corruption, appearing to reward the president’s rally for refusing to cooperate with investigators. And O’Kelly asked Stone about that appearance of impropriety on Saturday.
Stone insisted he had been convicted by a jury “of my political opponents” and not his peers, in what he characterized as a biased trial.
Stone sentence commuted: Trump grants clemency to ally Roger Stone after railing against ‘unfair’ conviction, sentencing
Who are you going to believe, who is more credible?
Are you going to believe the radio host with an impeccable professional history with the rock solid audio…
Or the guy convicted on 7 felony counts of lying to congress and witness tampering?
— Mr. Mo’Kelly 🎙️ (@MrMokelly) July 20, 2020
“There are thousands of people treated unfairly daily. How your number just happened to come up in the lottery. I am guessing it was more than just luck, Roger, right?” O”Kelly asked.
“I don’t really feel like arguing with this Negro,” Stone appears to say. That portion of the interview is less clear because Stone does not seem to speak directly into the phone at that moment.
“I’m sorry, what was that? Roger?” O’Kelly asked during a long period of silence on Stone’s end. “Would you not like to continue the conversation, sir?”
“You’re back,” Stone said after the pause, implying he had lost his connection.
When asked by O’Kelly about his comment, Stone denied it and told the host, “You’re out of your mind.”
Later, Stone said Trump’s commutation was “as an act of compassion” and “an act of mercy” because his “life was in imminent danger” from the threat of COVID-19.
At one time, “Negro” was common in the American vernacular to describe African Americans. By the late 1960s, however, the word was scorned by activists in favor of such descriptors as “Black”.
THIS JUST IN: in response to the accusation that #RogerStone used a racial slur during an interview with an African-American Radio Host, Stone tells me, “I said nothing of the kind.” Calls it a, “cheap shot” and a, “smear by a left wing radio host.” Full comments here. pic.twitter.com/klrvWQAnQx
— David Brody (@DavidBrodyCBN) July 19, 2020
These days, the antiquated word is widely viewed as derogatory in most uses.
After the interview, Stone variously denied using the term, denied the term was racist and implied the comment had been captured from another conversation as a result of the signal being crossed.
In a statement, Stone said “I despise racism” and that O’Kelly “needs a good peroxide cleaning of the wax in his ears because at no time did I call him a Negro.”
“That said, Mr. O’Kelly needs to spend a little more time studying black history and institutions. The word Negro is far from a slur,” he added, noting the United Negro College Fund continues to use the term.
In a statement to the Christian Broadcasting Network, Stone claimed “the entire exchange is garbled with cross talk,” though the audio of the interview is quite clear.
“I could hear another radio who in my ear and then suddenly the guy comes up with an accusation,” Stone said, calling it a “cheap shot.”
He pointed to his support for the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action, as well as his opposition to the war on drugs, as evidence that he was not racist.
O’Kelly was not persuaded by Stone’s denials.
“I heard what I heard. The audio is the audio,” O’Kelly tweeted Saturday after the show.
“I am nobody’s NEGRO.”
“Who are you going to believe, who is more credible?” O’Kelly asked in a tweet on Sunday night. ” Are you going to believe the radio host with an impeccable professional history with the rock solid audio … Or the guy convicted on 7 felony counts of lying to congress and witness tampering? Choose wisely.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
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