President Trump, flanked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting secretary of defense Richard V. Spencer, speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Tuesday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Media critic

CNN had the smart idea of bringing together supporters of President Trump and quizzing them about the controversy of the week. Did they believe that his tweets instructing four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to their home countries — when three of the four were born in the United States — were in any way racist, as many others had concluded? Did they stick with the president?

No — and oh, yes.

Dena Miller was among the eight Dallas Republicans in the CNN focus group who were interviewed by network correspondent Randi Kaye. “First, the black billionaire is endorsing President Trump,” said Miller. “How can you call him racist?” And so it went. Kathleen Lieberman told Kaye, “Because when you say, you know, don’t you think he’s racist? You’re accusing us. You’re accusing him.”

On Anderson Cooper’s show Tuesday night, the focus-group participants were identified as being members of Trump’s “base.” Kaye herself said they were “eight Republican women from Dallas.” In a segment on Wednesday morning, CNN host Kate Bolduan used the same formulation, saying, “My colleague Randi Kaye sat down with eight Republican women in Dallas.”

True, but incomplete, as critics later pointed out.


Miller was profiled in the Dallas Observer in her role as national director for Trumpettes of America. At least two other women in the CNN group, Gina O’Briant and Lieberman, were featured as members of the Texas Women for Trump Coalition in a 2016 story.

The Trumpettes of America even posted a picture on Facebook along with Kaye:

Perhaps because of the concerns about truth-in-labeling, CNN host Ana Cabrera on Wednesday afternoon characterized “several” of the women as being “affiliated with groups that support President Trump." The purpose, said Cabrera was "to see if any of them have changed their minds.”

Now, you can see why CNN may not have included such extensive disclosure in all of its previous segments highlighting the group discussion. That’s because of the “duh” factor: Of course the folks who are “affiliated with groups that support President Trump” haven’t changed their minds. Of course they’re going to say, “I’m glad that the president said what he said because all they are doing is they are inciting hatred and division and that’s not what our country is about" (O’Briant). Of course they’re going to say of the four congresswomen in “the Squad,” “If they’re not racist, how come they haven’t befriended one of their white female congresswomen colleagues?” (Miller).

These Trump faithful are dug in; they’ve been defending this guy for years now; they were with him through Stormy Daniels, through the Mueller investigation and the 3,000 other scandalitos of the past few years. What they told CNN is predictable, de rigueur and barely newsworthy.

We asked CNN for comment and will update this post if one arrives.