MSNBC’s Symone Sanders: ‘A Little Sexism, Racism’ Behind Fani Willis Investigation

News & Politics

Symone Sanders-Townsend MSNBC The Weekend 3-16-24 The French have an expression: what had to happen, has happened.

It was inevitable that the race-and-gender cards would be played in defense of Fani Willis. 

And sure enough, on the Saturday episode of MSNBC’s The Weekend that she co-anchors, Symone Sanders claimed that “If Fani Willis was a man named Frank who hired Susie, ” an investigation like the one into Willis wouldn’t have happened.

Sanders admitted to being “very animated” on the matter–which, if you view the video, you’ll see was a considerable understatement!

And just as she was about to yield the floor to other panelists, Sanders snuck in “It’s a little sexist. It’s a little racist.”

Well, he wasn’t named Frank, but has Sanders perhaps heard of Peter Gersten, the two-star general who was fired from his command position and demoted to colonel for having a sexual relationship with a female subordinate?

And then there was the heavily-covered case of David Petraeus, another male person of pallor. The New York Times has described him as “the best-known military commander of his generation.” A man touted as a possible future president. But all that fame and prestige didn’t prevent Petraeus from being convicted of a crime for sharing classified documents with a girlfriend while he was CIA director.

These are just two of many cases of people in positions of trust punished for romantic relationships with someone on their staff.

During Symone’s spiel, Michael Steele repeatedly murmured “right,” in agreement But Steele also made the point that in the New York prosecution of Trump over payments to Stormy Daniels, there’s nothing to hang on DA Alvin Bragg, because, unlike Willis, he didn’t make the poor decision to have a relationship with a member of his prosecution team. 

Co-anchor Alicia Menendez stayed out of the conversation. But at the very end, she announced, “I’m so happy you raised this.” Yes, Alicia, daughter of Senator Bob, knows all about blameless public servants being hounded and persecuted!

Here’s the transcript.

The Weekend
9:08 am EDT

SYMONE SANDERS-TOWNSEND: You know, they tried to steal an election! The former President of the United States of America and his little friends, as my mother would say, tried to steal an election. And the D.A., Fani Willis, is seeking to hold them accountable. And because she sought that accountability, they, the former president and his little friends, allies, Ashley Merchant, the attorney for one of those individuals, they then tried to distract us with salacious gossip.

Because that is what this is. Because, if there were facts, we would have found them. And it worked so much so, that very well-meaning people are just, who know a lot, lots of smart lawyers in this country, are walking around and sitting up on television being like, well, I don’t know if Fani Willis could stay on this case. This was a distraction. 

MICHAEL STEELE: Alvin Bragg doesn’t have that problem in New York. And that’s my point. 

SANDERS-TOWNSEND: This is a distraction. Because they haven’t [inaudible] to distract them with this.

STEELE: They don’t have anything to hang on Alvin Braggs’ head in New York. 

SANDERS-TOWNSEND: They didn’t have anything about Fani Willis. And I’m so animated about this. I’m sorry. I’m very animated about this because this is, we all have a duty, I think, to remind people about what this is really about. And frankly, if Fani Willis was a man named Frank, I don’t believe that they would have been able to distract us with the, the salacious gossip about, oh, well Frank hired Susie, so that Frank could financially benefit from Susie being on the case. 

ALICIA MENENDEZ: I’m so happy, I’m so happy you raised this. 

SANDERS-TOWNSEND: It’s a litle sexist. It’s a little racist. 

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