Valerie Jarrett Links Roseanne Tweet to President Trump: 'Tone Starts at the Top'

President Donald Trump has been swept into the controversy sparked Tuesday by comedian Roseanne Barr's racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett.

ABC canceled Barr's sitcom Roseanne just hours after she wrote "if the muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj" in reference to Jarrett. Barr has since apologized.

Jarrett, an African-American woman who was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said at a town hall hosted by MSNBC on Tuesday night that people look to the president to see what is acceptable in terms of language and behavior.

"The tone does start at the top, and we like to look up to our president and feel as though he reflects the values of our country," Jarrett said. "But I also think every individual citizen has a responsibility too, and it's up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going to be as good as we make it be."

During the town hall, the Reverend Al Sharpton also connected the controversy to Trump. "When you have a president that started his political career on birtherism, saying that 'he's not one of us,' when he's done everything he could to do dog-whistling around the issue of race—people like Roseanne feel they're empowered," Sharpton said. "Well, they got the memo today—you're not empowered."

Along with her racist tweet, Barr shared a picture of a character from Planet of the Apes. She has since apologized, and in one tweet she suggested she had written the remark while under the influence of the sleeping drug Ambien.

"Guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting-it was memorial day too-i went 2 far & do not want it defended-it was egregious Indefensible. I made a mistake I wish I hadn't but...don't defend it please. Ty," she said in a tweet that appears to have been removed from her account.

Barr's initial tweeted apology remains on her account.

The comedian, however, later retweeted some of the people who defended her actions, the HuffPost reported, with a number of people questioning the sincerity of her apology.

Barr suggested at one point that she may leave Twitter.

Rather than hitting out at Barr, Jarrett suggested the comedian's tweet should serve as a conversation starter about race. "I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment," Jarrett said at the MSNBC town hall. "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 said she was more concerned about the effect of such racism on "the person who is 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."