Trump needs to speak loudly against big­otry

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Mon­tel Wil­liams Mon­tel Wil­liams, a U.S. Naval Academy grad­u­ate who served in the Marine Corps and the Navy, hosted the Mon­tel Wil­liams Show from 1991 to 2008.

I’ve had it with Pres­i­dent Trump’s re­luc­tance to is­sue a strong con­dem­na­tion of the re­cent wave of big­otry in Amer­ica. I had hoped that he would fol­low in the foot­steps of Pres­i­dent Rea­gan, who fa­mously on tele­vi­sion made clear that big­ots were not wel­come in the party of Lin­coln. Why hasn’t Trump — who seems to spend ev­ery wak­ing hour on Twit­ter — shared a link to this pow­er­ful speech, un­der the words “this goes dou­ble for me”?

The an­swer is ob­vi­ous: Trump is afraid to alien­ate a wide and ra­bid por­tion of his base — the big­ots — whom he has been mo­bi­liz­ing and em­bold­en­ing for more than a decade. With his ap­proval rat­ing at about 40%, Trump sim­ply can’t af­ford to lose 25% of his base, even if they es­pouse de­spi­ca­ble views. No pres­i­dent in mod­ern times has built a coali­tion around this group of peo­ple. The fact that the first one to do so now sits in the Oval Of­fice is in­cred­i­bly danger­ous.

As of Sun­day af­ter­noon, Trump had said noth­ing about the two In­dian-born Garmin em­ploy­ees shot Wed­nes­day, one fa­tally, in Olathe, Kan., by a man who re­port­edly shouted, “Get out of my coun­try.” And no, I was not sat­is­fied by Trump’s “con­dem­na­tion” of re­cent anti- Semitic in­ci­dents. I found his state­ment to be iron­i­cally tepid, given his string of ve­he­ment at­tacks against the likes of Nord­strom, Demo­cratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, Hil­lary Clin­ton and the news me­dia. If any­thing, it as­sures big­ots that they’ll re­ceive only a slap on the wrist, and a care­fully scripted one at that, dur­ing his pres­i­dency.

For months, I’ve waited for Trump to con­demn the in­creas­ingly trou­bling out­bursts of big­otry in Amer­ica, and the car­ni­val bark­ers who’ve helped to in­cite them. When Richard Spencer in­fa­mously led a “heil Trump” cheer that went vi­ral, I had hoped that Trump — as the fa­ther of a Jewish daugh­ter and the grand­fa­ther of Jewish grand­chil­dren — would have ex­pressed out­rage on par with his out­rage to­ward jour­nal­ists. I had hoped that he’d de­nounce, once and for all, the con­grat­u­la­tory tweets by for­mer Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and any­one else who holds big­oted views, with the same scorchedearth ap­proach he has ap­plied to his war with the news me­dia.

With Trump go­ing af­ter jour­nal­ists harder than the Klan, we should brace our­selves for more hate — and for that hate to man­i­fest it­self in ac­tion.

And where in the hell are con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans? Why haven’t they spo­ken up, loudly, and in large num­bers, to clar­ify what the GOP stands for? Where is the con­ser­va­tive move­ment? If politi­cians, es­pe­cially in the party of Lin­coln, fear the po­lit­i­cal cost of con­demn­ing big­otry, we’ve al­ready lost ev­ery­thing that makes Amer­ica ex­cep­tional.

His­tory has taught us much about what hap­pens when hate be­comes nor­mal­ized. Trump vot­ers beware, you own that which you do not con­demn.

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