Dem strategist apologizes for saying Sanders surrogate had no 'stand' to use MLK Jr.'s words

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Hilary Rosen. Copyright Paul Morigi Getty Images for Lafayette 148 N file
Copyright Paul Morigi Getty Images for Lafayette 148 N file
By Janelle Griffith with NBC News Politics
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"Don't tell me what kind of stand that I have as a black woman in America. How dare you?" Nina Turner responded.


A Democratic strategist apologized Friday for saying Bernie Sanders co-chair Nina Turner did not have standing to use Martin Luther King Jr.'s words against Joe Biden.

The strategist, Hilary Rosen, faced backlash online for her remarks Thursday. She said she was sorry hours later, but some language in her apology Friday sparked more criticism.

"On air thurs I said my colleague @ninaturner didn't have standing to use MLK Jr. That was wrong. I am sorry for saying those words," Turner wrote in a since deleted tweet. "Pls no need to defend me and attack angry black women. They have standing. I always need to listen more than I talk. We rise together."

Turner was referring to her appearance with Turner on a segmentof CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," when the two Democrats discussed the voting records of presidential candidates Biden and Sanders.

Rosen at one point critiqued a comment by Turner, saying, "Nina referenced Dr. Martin Luther King before, saying that he said from the Birmingham jail that we should be concerned about white moderates. That's actually not what Martin Luther King said."

Turner, who is African American, responded: "He did say that. How are you going to tell me — about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Are you kidding me?"

She continued, saying that King said, "We should worry about the silence of white moderates," to which Rosen replied that Biden is not silent.

Turner again refuted Rosen's claim that King did not express worry about white moderates, but was interrupted by Rosen, who said: "Don't use Martin Luther King against Joe Biden. You don't have that stand."

"Don't tell me what kind of stand that I have as a black woman in America. How dare you," Turner quickly responded.

Rosen went on to say that Turner has "a lot of standing as a black woman in America," but that she doesn't have the standing to "attack" Biden using King's words.

"I didn't attack anybody," Turner said. "You're taking it that way. Listen, don't dip in to what I have to say about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. How dare you as a white woman, sit up here and try to tell me what I'm supposed to feel and what I'm going."

Rosen said that was not what she said and told Turner: "Don't you do that."

King wrote in 1963 in "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," published onlineby the University of Pennsylvania African Studies Center, that he had been "gravely disappointed with the white moderate."

"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action," King wrote.

On social media, many focused on the part of Turner's apology mentioning "angry black women." Those three words were trending on Twitter on Friday morning.

"Angry black women," Holly Figueroa O'Reilly, the founder of Blue Wave Crowdsource, an organization that supports Democratic candidates, tweeted. "This is at least as racist as telling a black woman she doesn't have any standing to talk about MLK. I say this as a Biden supporter who is embarrassed by your white feminism: Hillary Rosen, this is a terrible apology. Do better."

NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley wrote in a tweet: "I don't have time to dissect this. But suffice it to say, do better: "No need to defend me and attack angry black women. They have standing."

Another Twitter userquestioned: "What in the name of unmitigated whiteness is happening" in Rosen's mind?

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