Jeffrey Lord, the controversial pro-Donald Trump CNN political commentator, has re-signed with the network through 2017, sources tell the Erik Wemple Blog. The move will strike a note of continuity for the 24-7 cable network: Lord first joined as a paid commentator in the summer of 2015 and, once Trump’s dominance in the Republican primary emerged, secured employment for 2016. He was one of about seven commentators that CNN brought on to articulate Trump positions.
A White House political director in the Reagan White House, Lord does most of his commentating from Pennsylvania, where he juggles punditry with caring for his nonagenarian mother. He has attracted the notice of this blog — and many, many others — for the exotic and often unsupportable comments that he has made month after month in defense of Donald Trump. In perhaps his most famous face-off, he defended Trump’s failure to properly and forcefully disavow the endorsement of former KKK grand wizard David Duke. Lord sought to draw links between modern-day Democrats and the KKK: “They were the military arm, the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party, according to historians. For God’s sake, read your history,” said Lord, drawing an incredulous response from CNN colleague Van Jones.
Again, at the Democratic National Convention, Lord said, “I’ve never understood why after 176 years of writing political platforms the Democratic Party doesn’t simply say, ‘We were responsible for slavery and segregation. We apologize. Let’s name the injustice — we were responsible for creating this culture of race in this country and we’re sorry.’ I mean, I just don’t understand what’s wrong with that.”
Following that logic into more contemporary topics, Lord in late November blamed the left for the group of white nationalists who assembled at the Ronald Reagan Building in D.C. “The left, whether it’s Black Lives Matter or La Raza, I mean you can go back and back and back. Groups that identify themselves by race provoked this group to identify by race. This is America,” said Lord.
So inventive is Lord on pro-Trump arguments that he once apparently handed a talking point to the candidate himself. When the real-estate mogul in late 2015 started talking about banning Muslims from entry into the United States, Lord went on CNN and drew parallels to a trio of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential proclamations. Trump later mouthed the same argument.
Be careful, though, about asserting that Lord always backs Trump. Just this past week, he dissented from Trump’s position that flag burning should be criminalized. “I should say, I do part company with him on this. I’m a strong believer in the First Amendment, which is why I’m with Justice Scalia on Citizens United, the same thing, free speech,” said Lord.