Michael Eric Dyson said President Trump is "lethally ignorant" on the history of race Wednesday in an appearance on CNN. Dyson also defended activist groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter for "preserving the fabric of America."
"This man is lethally ignorant, incapable of even having a kindergartner's comprehension of the history of race," Dyson told CNN's Harlow.
"Black Lives Matter, the Antifa movement, and so on, are interested in preserving the fabric of America," Dyson said.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN: So, Michael, the president said that we are -- about the monuments -- about the Confederate monuments yesterday -- that we are trying to erase -- we, being American people -- are trying to -- it is trying to erase history, change culture by taking them down. And that sort of completely ignores the fact that they are representing a sanitized, fictionalized history.
I mean, if you look back at these beautiful remarks from Mitch Landrieu earlier this year who quoted the vice president of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens. And he talked about that cornerstone speech and when he said that the great truth is that the "n" word is not equal to the white man. That slavery and support and subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.
What did you make of how the president addressed these monuments yesterday?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: This man is lethally ignorant, incapable of even having a kindergartner's comprehension of the history of race.
And for those who say look, the Confederacy is about history and heritage, it is. The history and heritage of racism.
The history and heritage of bigotry, building their sense of biological and, in many cases, theological and national identity upon a lie. A mythology of white supremacy. The belief that some people are inherently superior and some people are inherently inferior.
For the president then to defend the actions against taking down Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson -- and remember, these people hated America enough to want to secede from it.
The people that we claim -- Black Lives Matter, the Antifa movement, and so on, are interested in preserving the fabric of America.
Mr. Miller says, again, that there was violence there. But the problem is to equate the violence in reaction against bigotry with the bigotry itself is to misunderstand the fact that when you go to cancer treatment the radiation is tough treatment, but it is meant to remove the cancer. So what he fails to understand and what the president, especially,
fails to understand is that you are complicit with the worst occurrence of bigotry in this country when you try to draw a false equivalence between secessionist and racist and Confederate defenders and bigots and neo-Nazis and African-American and white people and others who have defended the right of this nation to really seek a path of healing beyond the consternation we see now.
That's the problem with this president. He ain't got the right moral vision, he doesn't have the right words to express that moral vision, and he lacks an understanding of American history.
This is the most illiterate, incompetent president in the history of this nation and it shows -- and it tells on him in the midst of this racial crisis where he is incapable of showing basic decent compassion for those who are vulnerable and who are victims of white supremacy in this country.
MORE: CNN panel with Michael Eric Dyson, Brunell Donald-Kyei of the Trump National Diversity Coalition have heated argument on who is responsible for death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville: