GOP shocked — shocked! — as Trump re­mains Trump

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - Dana Mil­bank

— Don­ald Trump needed val­i­da­tion.

At a rally Fri­day, Trump was dis­cussing racial vi­o­lence at his events and the per­cep­tion that non­white peo­ple are against him, when he sin­gled out a black man in the crowd.

“Look at my African-Amer­i­can over here,” Trump said, point­ing. “Look at him. Are you the great­est?”

The ges­ture — rem­i­nis­cent of Trump with a Cinco de Mayo taco bowl at Trump Tower and tweet­ing “I love His­pan­ics!” — was as re­spect­ful as if he had just in­structed the crowd to “look at my Ir­ish set­ter over here.” And it was as clumsy as if he had tried to val­i­date his pro-Is­rael po­si­tion by say­ing, “Look at my Jew over here,” or to neu­tral­ize his gen­eral in­tol­er­ance by say­ing, “Say hello to my lesbian,” or, “Take a gan­der at my Chi­nese-Amer­i­can.”

It turns out Trump’s AfricanAmer­i­can, Gre­gory Chea­dle, says he’s not a Trump sup­porter. He said he wasn’t of­fended by Trump tak­ing pos­ses­sion of him, telling NPR it would have been worse if Trump fol­lowed “my African-Amer­i­can” by say­ing, “What’s up, dawg?” or the N-word. Small con­so­la­tion. A con­flu­ence of three fac­tors has caused a sud­den and sharp change in Trump’s for­tunes. The me­dia scru­tiny has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly since he se­cured the nom­i­na­tion, and jour­nal­ists, rather than chas­ing his out­rage du jour, are digging in to re­port more on Trump Univer­sity, Trump’s stiff­ing of char­i­ties, his lies and his racism. Hil­lary Clin­ton has, fi­nally, made the shift to at­tack­ing Trump vig­or­ously over his in­sta­bil­ity. And Repub­li­cans are, be­lat­edly, dis­cov­er­ing that their pres­i­den­tial candidate wasn’t putting on a show dur­ing the GOP pri­maries: He’s an ac­tual racist.

You know you’re in trou­ble when you’re be­ing lec­tured on sen­si­tiv­ity by Newt Gin­grich. The former House speaker, a fre­quent Trump de­fender, emailed The Wash­ing­ton Post’s Dan Balz to say that Trump’s claim that a fed­eral judge had a con­flict of in­ter­est be­cause the In­di­an­aborn ju­rist is “Mex­i­can” was “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able.” (He soft­ened his crit­i­cism of Trump on Mon­day.)

Sen. Su­san Collins of Maine con­curred that Trump’s at­tack on the judge and his claim that a Mus­lim on the bench also couldn’t judge him fairly was “ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, just one day af­ter endorsing Trump, said on a ra­dio show that Trump’s re­marks

WASH­ING­TON

about the His­panic judge were “out of left field.”

Sorry, Mr. Speaker, but that’s non­sense. The things Trump is do­ing now — dis­parag­ing the “Mex­i­can” judge, dis­qual­i­fy­ing Mus­lim judges, call­ing Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren “Poc­a­hon­tas” and sin­gling out “my African-Amer­i­can” — is very much in line with what he has been do­ing for the past year, and be­fore.

More than six months ago, I be­gan a col­umn by propos­ing, “Let’s not mince words: Don­ald Trump is a bigot and a racist.” His big­otry went back decades, to the Cen­tral Park jog­ger case, and came to in­clude: his lead­er­ship of the “birther” move­ment sug­gest­ing Pres­i­dent Obama was a for­eign-born Mus­lim, his vul­gar ex­pres­sions for women, his talk of Mex­ico send­ing rapists into Amer­ica, his call for mass de­por­ta­tion, his spats with Latino news out­lets, his mock­ing Asian ac­cent, his tacit ac­cep­tance of the claim that Mus­lims are a “prob­lem” in Amer­ica, his agree­ment that Amer­i­can Mus­lims should be forced to reg­is­ter them­selves, his call to ban Mus­lim im­mi­gra­tion, his false claim about Amer­i­can Mus­lims cel­e­brat­ing 9/11, his tweet­ing of sta­tis­tics from white su­prem­a­cists, his con­don­ing of vi­o­lence against black de­mon­stra­tors and his mock­ing of a jour­nal­ist with a phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity.

Now that Trump has se­cured the nom­i­na­tion, Repub­li­can of­fice­hold­ers are shocked to dis­cover that his racism con­tin­ues?

A month ago, the Trump cam­paign chose prom­i­nent white na­tion­al­ist Wil­liam John­son to be one of its del­e­gates. The cam­paign blamed a “data­base er­ror” and John­son re­signed, but the racist Amer­i­can Free­dom Party claims it has “more del­e­gates” on Trump’s list. An­other Trump del­e­gate was in­dicted re­cently on fed­eral child­pornog­ra­phy and weapons charges, and Mother Jones mag­a­zine, which dis­cov­ered John­son’s se­lec­tion, on Fri­day re­ported that an­other Trump del­e­gate, David Ri­den, has said that U.S. lead­ers who abuse the Con­sti­tu­tion should be “killed by Amer­i­can cit­i­zens with weapons.” And the Chicago Tri­bune re­ported that Illi­nois Trump del­e­gate Lori Gayne uses the so­cial-me­dia han­dle “whitepride” and said: “I’m so an­gry I don’t even feel like I live in Amer­ica. You can call me a racist.”

Repub­li­cans, look at your nom­i­nee over here. It’s a grotesque sight.

Dana Mil­bank is a syn­di­cated columnist. Con­tact him at danamil­bank@wash­post.com.

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