White House sees dam­age from ‘alt-right’

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This editorial ap­peared in the St. Louis Post-Dis­patch:

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump can no longer dodge and dis­tract from the cold re­al­ity that his ad­min­is­tra­tion has granted a plat­form for white su­prem­a­cists and anti-Semites to ad­vance their twisted causes. His fail­ure to lead has helped mem­bers of the “alt-right” ex­pand their reach.

Last Tues­day, Trump fi­nally spoke out, but only af­ter nearly 200 grave­stones were over­turned at a Jewish ceme­tery near St. Louis. Na­tion­wide, Jewish or­ga­ni­za­tions are warn­ing about a spike in bomb threats and ha­rass­ment aimed at Jews.

Trump has in­flicted se­ri­ous dam­age upon him­self with shoul­der-shrug­ging re­sponses to ques­tions about anti-Semitism. Ac­tions speak louder than words, and the most dam­ag­ing ac­tion Trump has taken to un­der­mine his “least anti-Semitic” ti­tle was to name Stephen K. Ban­non as his chief White House strate­gist. Be­fore tak­ing the job, Ban­non headed Bre­it­bart News, a web­site Ban­non de­scribed last year as “the plat­form for the alt-right.”

The South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter de­fines the al­tright as “a set of far-right ide­olo­gies, groups and in­di­vid­u­als whose core be­lief is that ‘white iden­tity’ is un­der at­tack by mul­ti­cul­tural forces us­ing ‘po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness’ and ‘so­cial jus­tice’ to un­der­mine white peo­ple and ‘their’ civ­i­liza­tion.”

Not once has the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion chal­lenged Bre­it­bart’s alt-right align­ment or urged the web­site to mod­er­ate its post­ings.

Trump’s be­lated con­dem­na­tion of anti-Semitism rings hol­low. Ron­ald Lauder of the World Jewish Congress has ev­ery rea­son to de­mand wider of­fi­cial ac­knowl­edg­ment that “anti-Semitism is alive and kick­ing.” Hate mon­gers will have a prom­i­nent friend as long as Trump keeps Ban­non in the White House.

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