*Public radio and PBS host Tavis Smiley is not backing away from his derisive comment about President Obama‘s statements regarding the George Zimmerman acquittal.
Sunday on “Meet the Press” Smiley basically doubled down on what he said about the president that got him excoriated by Twitter followers and and members of the EURweb audience as well. Smiley said POTUS’ comments were “weak as pre-sweetened Kool-Aid.”
Smiley made a point to note on Sunday that the the president had to be “pushed” into speaking out on the Zimmerman acquittal and didn’t decide to do so by choice.
“I appreciate and applaud the fact that the president did finally show up. But this town has been spinning a story that’s not altogether true. He did not walk to the podium for an impromptu address to the nation. He was pushed to that podium. A week of protests outside the White House, pressure building on him inside the White House, pushed him to that podium.”
So even though president spoke out on the situation, Tavis Smiley didn’t feel Obama’s remarks were strong enough. He told “Meet the Press” host David Gregory that when Mr. Obama “left the podium, he still had not answered the most important question, that Kingian question, where do we go from here?”
“That question this morning remains unanswered, at least from the perspective of the president,” said Smiley. “And the bottom line is, this is not Libya. This is America. On this issue, you cannot lead from behind. What’s lacking in this moment is moral leadership. The country is begging for it. They’re craving it.”
When reminded of the president’s statement that politicians might not be the best people to lead a real national discussion on race, Smiley responded with this:
“I disagree with the president, respectfully, that politicians, elected officials, can’t occupy this space on race. Truman did, Johnson did, President Obama did. He’s the right person in the right place at the right time, but he has to step into his moment. I don’t want him to be like Bill Clinton, when he’s out of office, regretting that he didn’t move on Rwanda. I don’t want the president to look back and realize he didn’t do as much as he could have in this critical moment.”
Congressional Black Caucus chair and Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, former RNC chairman and MSNBC political analyst Michael Steele, Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree and National Urban League President Marc Morial were also a part of Sunday’s “Meet the Press” panel.
To add to his argument against the president, Smiley stated there is no record of Obama having a conversation about race in America and questioned his need to take leadership on the issue of gay rights, but not on race.