CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin reprimanded one of her Newsroom guests on the air and online Tuesday for uttering the N-word while criticizing President-elect Donald Trump and his controversial appointment of Stephen Bannon to a top White House position.
Pundit Charles Kaiser made the remark during a conversation with Baldwin and Trump supporter Paris Dennard. While discussing Trump’s connections to the alt-right movement, Kaiser alleged that Bannon, the onetime Breitbart News executive editor and newly-minted chief West Wing strategist, has been known to use racist language.
“If you don’t want to support the alt-right, don’t choose as a White House counselor a man who uses the word ‘n‑‑‑‑‑’,” said Kaiser, who is white.
Both Baldwin and Dennard were visibly taken aback by Kaiser’s language, with Baldwin saying “wow” as Kaiser continued to speak.
Moments later, Baldwin shook her head and cut in. “Just hang on a second,” she said. “I appreciate you going through all of this, but please don’t use the N-word on my show.”
“I’m sorry,” Kaiser replied. “I never use the N-word except when I’m quoting someone who’s been appointed by the president to serve in the Oval Office, since this is such a disgusting moment in our history.”
Baldwin concluded the segment a few minutes later.
“All right, gentlemen, we’re done,” she said wearily. “We’re done. I appreciate both your voices. The more I’ve sat here and listened to the fact that somebody used the N-word on this show, it is not okay. It is not okay. Charles Kaiser, I respect you, I enjoy having you on as a guest, but not okay. By the way, the claim that Mr. Bannon used the N-word, I’ve never heard of this. So there’s that.”
Baldwin reiterated her stance via Twitter, writing, “Whether you’re quoting someone or not, using the n-word on my show is not okay. Period.”
After his Newsroom appearance, Kaiser told the Washington Post he misattributed the use of the N-word to Bannon when he meant to refer to Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee to serve as attorney general. The Guardian reported Monday that Sessions was accused of using the slur in 1981.
“I do apologize for one thing in particular,” Kaiser told the Post. “I mistook Bannon for Sessions. I was mistaking the one for the other.”
Kaiser also said if he had a do-over, he probably would have chosen different words. But, he added, “There’s a part of me that feels you can’t fully express the shocking nature of the first appointments of Donald Trump without using the actual words used by these appointees.”
Watch the Newsroom exchange above.