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Hewitt: Race relations better under Trump

Conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt (West Life photo by Kevin Kelley)

By Kevin Kelley
Westlake

Conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt believes two aspects of American life have changed under President Donald Trump: Race relations have improved and the news media is insane.

Hewitt made his comments April 8 during a discussion among conservative talk radio hosts at Wagner’s of Westlake. Titled “President Trump: The First 100 Days,” the program was one of 18 stops on a national tour promoting Salem Media Group’s radio stations, including Cleveland’s WHK AM1420.

According to a WHK spokeswoman, 315 people attended the event. Tickets cost $30 for the discussion; a VIP dinner with the speakers beforehand cost $55 or $120. Among those attending the VIP dinner and program were Cuyahoga County Council District 1 member Nan Baker and her husband, Craig.

Hugh Hewitt, Larry Elder, Bob Frantz, Peter Kirsanow and Tom Kelly

Hewitt got a mixed reaction from his colleagues to his contention race relations are better under Trump.

Bob Frantz, a Northeast Ohio native whose show is heard weekdays on AM1420 from 9 to 11 a.m., said race relations are not better. But he blamed Obama, who he said “fostered race-baiting.” “That kind of animosity between the races isn’t going to go away in 75 days,” Frantz said. Much of black America is upset with white America because Trump was elected, Frantz said.

Peter Kirsanow, a Cleveland labor attorney and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, said the future of race relations under Trump is yet to be determined. Discrimination will never completely go away, but it is not as prevalent today, said Kirsanow, who is an African-American. “I do think things will get better, and I think we’re on an upward trajectory,” he said.

Larry Elder, an attorney who launched his broadcasting career in Cleveland in the 1980s, said the rate of interracial marriages should be considered when contemplating relations between blacks and whites because it’s a great barometer on how people are getting along. Elder, an African-American, said interracial marriage rates are booming, “and nobody cares anymore.”

The conservative talkers were in greater agreement in their assessment of the mainstream media in America.

Hewitt, who co-moderated several 2016 Republican Party presidential debates on CNN, said the journalists he encountered at that network worked very hard at being objective. But he said almost all mainstream media journalists he’s worked with are liberal.

“What we’re dealing with is a very left-wing group of people, and they are insane,” said Hewitt, who appears regularly as a contributor on MSNBC and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Bob Frantz and Peter Kirsanow

The media is not insane, but rather “evil,” Frantz said, adding that journalists are coordinating with each other on an anti-Trump message.

“They don’t just want to make [Trump’s] poll numbers drop,” Frantz said. “They don’t want to just hurt his popularity. They don’t want him lasting a term. They have made it their mission to get him out of office before term one ends.”

Kirsanow repeated journalist Salena Zito’s often-repeated observation that the press takes Trump’s comments “literally, but not seriously,” while his supporters take him “seriously, but not literally.”

“He doesn’t speak like a politician,” Kirsanow said. “So we cut him some slack. And he speaks more directly, truthfully, honestly than Barack Obama ever could.”

Some Wikileaks revelations of hacked emails indicated some journalists colluded with the Democratic Party, Elder said. Trump is battled by not only the media, but also Hollywood and academia, he added.

Kirsanow agreed with Hewitt that Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court is a key accomplishment of the president’s first 100 days in office.

“Gorsuch by itself was worth the price of Donald Trump’s admission to the Oval Office,” Kirsanow said to applause. “We were at the precipice of seeing a Supreme Court that would have a liberal slant for the next generation had Hillary won.”

Gorsuch is brilliant “if you like fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law.” But Gorsuch, because he replaced Scalia, simply maintains the philosophical status quo on the high court. The next nomination fight for a Supreme Court seat will be critical and hard fought, Kirsanow predicted.

Overall, Hewitt said, America is still as deeply divided as it was before the presidential election. A long period of economic growth will be required to change that, he added.

“Government is out of control at every level,” Hewitt said. “Government doesn’t work. It’s big, bloated and it takes your money.” That is not going to easily change, Hewitt predicted.

Frantz told West Life Northeast Ohio Trump supporters sought a 180-degree turn from the Obama agenda. They got that, he said, when Trump took immediate actions such as pulling America out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and approving the Keystone Pipeline.

While there were some differences on the health care debate, Trump supporters are still in the “honeymoon phase” and have few complaints, the local radio host said. “They’re all willing to give him time,” Frantz said of his callers who backed Trump.

Trump supporters are not much different from those in the rest of the country, but sometimes experience frustration at getting their voice heard in a “blue” county like Cuyahoga, Frantz said. Many were reluctant to publicly reveal their support for Trump before the election and did not place Trump campaign signs in their yards out of fear they’d have their cars keyed or houses egged, he said.

 

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