Rob Reiner became a household name for his role as Michael "Meathead" Stivic, liberal antagonist to Carroll O'Connor's comedically bigoted Archie Bunker in Norman Lear's iconic '70s sitcom, All in the Family.
On Thursday morning, however, it was Reiner himself who played the unapologetic foil to the xenophobic bigotry found among some Donald Trump supporters. Speaking on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Reiner—who has spent decades championing liberal causes and Democratic candidates—railed against the media's inability to pin Trump down when it comes to substantive discussions on the issue, before finally turning his attention to Trump's supporters, themselves.
"How do you explain the millions and millions of people who do not watch this show, who actually like what they hear from Donald Trump, and aren't taking messages and orders from us and the media," asked program co-host Willie Geist. "They listen to what he says for themselves and vote for him. How do you explain that?"
Reiner responds without missing a beat: "There are a lot of people who are racist!"
The exchange can be found at 8:20 in the video above.
"Oh my god, did you just say that? You just said that!" exclaims host Joe Scarborough in semi-serious incredulity. Scarborough's up-and-down relationship with Trump has been subject to intense scrutiny by many claiming the former GOP congressman is far too chummy with the hotel mogul to be considered an impartial member of the press.
It's at this point Reiner launches into a truly withering excoriation of those whose latent racism has been encouraged by the rise of Trump.
"There is racism in this country," explains Reiner, "that has been submerged for a long, long time, and all of a sudden there is a man—"
"So he's unearthed it?" injects host Mika Brzezinski.
"He's unearthed a lot of it!" Reiner agrees.
Scarborough tries to interject, "Could this not be about working class Americans being left behind by a Republican party that's always talking about—"
"Yes, yes!" Reiner responds, saying "There are those that are following Bernie Sanders that feel the same way. Do you see any racist people at the Bernie rally? Do you see any skinheads?"
Ultimately, after several minutes of back and forth regarding Trump's supporters during which co-host Mark Halperin refuses to make eye contact with anyone, seemingly fixated on something fascinating happening on the floor, Reiner concludes, "they're not all racists, but there's a strain there."
The Morning Joe hosts then awkwardly transition to a few seconds of uncomfortable small talk, plug Reiner's new movie, and quickly head to a commercial break.