MSNBC Fight: Melvin Asks Democrat Trump Supporter ‘Are You a Paid Campaign Surrogate?’

News & Politics

For the past several years, MSNBC has hailed any anti-Trump Republican as the voice of reason and as a champion of decency. However, fireworks ensued on MSNBC Live on Wednesday when host Craig Melvin interviewed pro-Trump Democrat state Rep Vernon Jones of Georgia, wondering if Jones was being paid for his efforts. Asking black Trump backers if they’re paid is becoming an MSNBC habit.

The interview got off to a contentious start with Melvin clearly perplexed how anyone who considers himself a Democrat could support Trump. He and Jones battled over Trump’s record on Russia and the pre-pandemic economy. Throughout Melvin repeated claims indistinguishable from those of the DNC press office.

After debating whether Trump or Obama should be able to claim credit for the pre-COVID economy, Melvin declared, “I like to traffic in facts, and much of what you just said is patently false” and informed Jones “this is my show, I’ll ask questions.”

Jones objected, “You had me on your show so let me explain. Don’t cut me off when I’m giving you an answer.”

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Melvin continued, “I’m not cutting you off, but I do– are you a paid campaign surrogate? Are you being compensated?” Jones turned the table on Melvin by telling him, “You get paid to shape a liberal narrative. You get paid to attack this president—.”

After Melvin interrupted to implore Jones to answer the question, Jones answered, “I don’t get a dime for this president. I don’t get a dime from the campaign. Everything I’ve done has been me and based on my principles. See, that’s the problem. When an African-American–“

Melvin again interrupted to object to Jones bringing up race:

MELVIN: Sir, I did not raise your race. 

JONES: Let me finish. 

MELVIN: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re not going to imply that I asked that question because you’re black. 

Jones then alleged Melvin asked, “me that because I don’t fit your narrative. I don’t want anything from this president. It’s what I can do for my country and you need to accept that many other African-Americans and others support this president because of his policies. And to insult me to say am I getting paid that is disgraceful.”

Jones got in one more jab at the liberal network, “That is disgraceful and that’s representative of MSNBC and their narrative to keep blacks silent who happen to support this president. Why can’t I be like white liberals or other whites, nobody question if they’re getting paid so? Do you ask Democrats are they getting paid?”

Melvin replied that he has asked the question to other guests and then decided to end the interview, but that and the question of race aside, Melvin’s confrontational approach to interviewing Jones did come across as something someone who is being paid to push a liberal narrative would do.

This segment was sponsored by AT&T.

Here is a transcript for the July 29 show:

MSNBC

MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin

11:35 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: I like to traffic in facts, and much of what you just said is patently false, but I do, Representative Jones, this is my show, I’ll ask questions, give me a second. 

VERNON JONES: You had me on your show so let me explain. Don’t cut me off when I’m giving you an answer. 

MELVIN: I’m not cutting you off, but I do– are you a paid campaign surrogate? Are you being compensated? 

JONES: Let me be clear. You get paid to shape a liberal narrative. You get paid to attack this president—

MELVIN: It’s a simple question

JONES: I don’t get a dime for this president. I don’t get a dime from the campaign. Everything I’ve done has been me and based on my principles. See, that’s the problem. When an African-American – 

MELVIN: Sir, I did not raise your race. 

JONES: Let me finish. 

MELVIN: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re not going to imply that I asked that question because you’re black. 

[Crosstalk]

JONES: Don’t ask me that. You only ask me that because I don’t fit your narrative. I don’t want anything from this president. It’s what I can do for my country and you need to accept that many other African-Americans and others support this president because of his policies. And to insult me to say am I getting paid that is disgraceful 

MELVIN: I’ve asked this same question. 

JONES: That is disgraceful and that’s representative of MSNBC and their narrative to keep blacks silent who happen to support this president. Why can’t I be like white liberals or other whites, nobody question if they’re getting paid so? Do you ask Democrats are they getting paid? Are you getting paid by Joe Biden? Have you ever asked any host – 

MELVIN: I have. 

JONES: Whether they have been paid for Joe Biden. 

MELVIN: State Representative Vernon Jones, thank you. Do come back, an open invitation. 

JONES: I’d love to come back. 

MELVIN: Thank you. 

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