CNN panel goes off the rails after Trump surrogate claims Trump is the 'Martin Luther King of healthcare'

Donald trump martin luther king IIIDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump and Martin Luther King III

CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord on Thursday compared President Donald Trump’s moves to overhaul healthcare to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., prompting a backlash from a fellow panelist.

“Think of President Trump as the Martin Luther King of healthcare,” Lord, a pro-Trump surrogate, said during an appearance on CNN.

“When I was a kid, President Kennedy did not want to introduce the civil rights bill because he said it wasn’t popular, he didn’t have the votes for it, etcetera. Dr. King kept putting people in the streets, in harms way, to put the pressure on so that the bill would be introduced. That’s what finally worked,” he continued.

Lord was referring to Trump’s suggestion that his administration could stop funding cost-sharing subsidies in the individual insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. These subsidies currently go to insurance companies to allow them to offer lower out-of-pocket costs to low-income Americans.

Estimates show that pulling funding would increase premiums by nearly 20% over the current projection for next year and could lead to an exodus of insurers form the exchanges.

Health policy experts have said the move would be potentially devastating for low-income people and the more than 12 million people currently enrolled in health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges. Additionally, they argue the move would effectively fulfil Trump’s claims that the market is “collapsing.”

Symone Sanders, the CNN guest opposite Lord and a Democratic activist, pushed back on Lord’s claim, saying it was unfair to compare Trump making healthcare more expensive for millions of low-income Americans to the work of King to fight for racial justice in the US.

“There is no similarity. What Donald Trump is doing is he is in over his head, he doesn’t understand healthcare is a complicated issue,” Sanders said. “He just arrived here — most of us have been here, thank you — and he doesn’t understand that these are people’s lives.”

Lord has repeatedly been a source of controversy during his appearances on CNN.

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