Trump needs to speak loudly against bigotry
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.