She calls him a “racial polemecist,” which is a person who attacks people because of their race. So, quite simply, she’s accusing him of anti-white racism.
MATALIN: You are not — that’s not the path for progressives. We’ve all agreed at the outset of this show that the path — which is Ellison’s message, you say, is to go back to the Rust Belt.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely.
MATALIN: — and the rednecks. Well, you’re not going to get there with climate change and Putin and all the rest of it.
VANDEN HEUVEL: The people in South Carolina who run hotels, who understand — self-interest. They will be overrun by rivers and water if they don’t deal — deal with climate crisis.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, we’re just about out of time. Van, you said the whitelash…
JONES: I said and stand by it. I said that race was a part, and there was a part, that alt-right part, that was a part of the whitelash. And if you listened to the whole quote, you would agree with what I said.
MATALIN: I did listen and again you said what do I tell the kids? What I would tell your kids, I’m a black man in America who went to Yale, who has written books, who served a president and now…
JONES: And ninth generation American, ma’am, and I’m the first one in my family born with all my rights. I’m a ninth generation American. And so we have not escaped because I went to Yale all the problems of this country.
MATALIN: So, you should not be a racial polemecist. You should be a racial reconciler.
JONES: You should be ashamed of your self to say that to my face. I have spent more time in this country…
MATALIN: Say it behind your back would be better?
JONES: Hold on a second, I spent more time than you have trying to be a racial reconciler.
MATALIN: Really? How do you know that? Do you anything about me? Do you know anything about me?
JONES: Apparently you don’t know anything about me.
MATALIN: Yes, I do know your daddy, your grandparents were teachers. Your grandfather was a bishop.
JONES: George, this is a problem that we have right now. It is in fact the case there was a populist revolt in this country both Sanders and Trump, but one of them was marbled through with this alt-right stuff. If someone like myself, who is married to a white woman, who has spent my entire life building bridges, can’t point out the alt-right whitelash reaction without being accused of being a racial polemecist, we’re going to have a big problem.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Have you no sense of decency to say that to a man who has been a healer throughout horrific brutal campaign, he has spoken sanity to power. And to those who…
MATALIN: OK, my deepest apologies. You don’t know anything about me. You don’t know anything about my healing and I would say there are ways to get to reconciliation different from calling — focusing on the toxic elements as you did…
JONES: You have to talk about both.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You guys will talk about it outside. We are going to come back with The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.