Daphne Goggins, a Republican ward leader from North Philadelphia, calls CNN “fake news,” like President Trump and many of his supporters.
But that didn’t stop her from appearing on the network Wednesday, where she and five other Trump fans offered an alternative-facts explanation for the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 12.
What followed was an example of the fake news-conspiracy theory continuum consuming partisan politics in America.
The protests were a hoax, Goggins and her fellow “Pulse of the People” panel members told an astounded Alisyn Camerota, co-host of CNN’s New Day program.
As proof, Goggins cited a video posted by a Facebook friend from Georgia, who claimed one of his Facebook friends in Charlottesville told him she saw protesters wearing Ku Klux Klan t-shirts and Black Lives Matter t-shirts getting off buses parked together before the protests turned violent.
“While that may not sound credible to a lot of people, to those of us who don’t trust the news media, that could be very credible,” Goggins told Camerota.
Goggins also suggested a 20-year-old man photographed marching with white supremacists before allegedly plowing his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one of them, may have been driven by a “panic attack” and not a racist ideology.
“How can he be a supremacist of anything and he’s 20 years old?” Goggins asked Camerota.
CNN taped Goggins and the rest of the Trump-supporter panel Monday. The cable network aired parts of it on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.
Goggins later branded the CNN program “fake news” for questioning what it described as her “conspiracy theory.”
“That guy is a credible person,” Goggins said of the man who posted the video. “He’s not somebody who is going to lie and make s*** up.”
Goggins has been the Republican leader of the 16th Ward in North Philly for four years. She was among a group of African-Americans selected for a private lunch with Trump in September, when he was trying to dispute claims that he is a racist.
Trump won 1.3 percent of the vote in the 16th Ward in the general election while Hillary Clinton took 97.7 percent. Republicans make up just 3.3 percent of the 8,603 registered voters in the ward.
Goggins also questioned why she was the only African-American on the CNN panel. The network found her on Facebook, she said.
“I guess I’m an enigma because I’m dark-skinned,” she said. “I think the fact that they only put one black person on that panel was fake news in a way too.”