Valerie Jarrett seems to be taking a page from her old friend Michelle Obama’s playbook: “When they go low, we go high.” Instead of firing back at Roseanne Barr, she urged Americans to learn from this incident.
The former senior adviser to President Obama was already scheduled to participate in a television discussion about racism on MSNBC Tuesday evening before ABC decided to cancel Roseanne after that show’s star tweeted a nasty, racist attack on her.
"First of all, I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment,” Jarrett said. “I’m fine. I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense.”
Jarrett explained that she was referring to “those ordinary examples of racism that happen every single day” like “the person who’s walking down the street minding their own business and they see somebody cling to their purse, or want to cross the street” or “every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation, ‘the talk’ as we call it.”
According to NBC News, Jarrett also confirmed that she believes ABC made the right call in cancelling the top-rated show and revealed that Disney CEO called her personally before making the announcement. “He wanted me to know before he made it public that he was canceling the show,” Jarrett said, adding that he told her there would be “zero tolerance” for those types of comments moving forward.
ABC’s decision to cancel Roseanne came after Barr tweeted an apology to Jarrett for comparing her to a cross between the “muslim brotherhood” and “planet of the apes.”
In another clip from the town hall event, which will air in full Tuesday night, Jarrett laid at least some blame at the feet of Donald Trump. “Tone does start at the top,” she said. “We like to look up to our president and feel as though he reflects the values of our country.”
After eight years of working for President Obama, Jarrett clearly feels that is not the case under Trump.