As White Supremacist Terrorism Is Dangerously Resurgent, Trump Looks The Other Way
8 years of a popular, charismatic, and statesman African American President, Hispanics, African Americans, and other minority groups increasingly enjoying life in the mainstream middle class with good schools and safe neighborhoods to raise their children, and then the election of Donald Trump takes us back decades with American’s ugly, racists, hate filled underbelly coming out of the shadows emboldened by having their chosen man in the White House. Trump supporters say that it is not the fault of Trump that these people rally behind him, for does not seek their endorsement, nor can he control who supports him. They are wrong!
From a campaign writhe with hateful rhetoric against immigrants, Mexicans, and Muslims, to Trump’s desire for walls and travel bans, and his latest policy favoring English speaking and affluent immigrants to cut the line for legal entry to this country, he feeds the racist, hate filled, radical right and provides them legitimacy. Indeed, every category of hate crime as has been reported by Sky News, LA Times, NY Times, NBC, and many other news outlets, have reported an increasing spike in white nationalist hate crimes starting with the Trump campaign and continuing to rise in his early presidency. In February, 2017 the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that its count of hate groups in the country increased for the second consecutive year and that the number of anti-Muslim organizations had nearly tripled within a year.
According to the law center, white supremacists usually sit out elections and think that political parties are irredeemably corrupt. However, in their estimation, the 2016 election was quite different as Trump ran a campaign marked by racism, xenophobia, crude racial stereotypes, anti-Semitic imagery, and White Nationalist Steve Bannon front and center in his campaign and White House. His rejection of political correctness marking a new norm in American politics have white supremacists previously relegated to pariahs lurking in the shadows to now rallying in the name of their leader giving them a new found credibility as they form a significant contingency of Trump’s unwavering base. Civil right groups are dubbing this phenomena “The Trump Effect.”
This past Friday night as illustrated in the image above, an angry mob of torch bearing white men waving Nazi and confederate flags shouting “Heil Trump,” was the precursor to yesterday’s violent and deadly clashes with counter-protesters at the University of Virginia. Indeed, The Trump Effect was front and center for all to see, complete with tragic consequences as a man sped his car into a crowd of anti-racist counter-protesters. Further compounding the abysmal events in Charlottesville, the president who usually tweets about terror events in almost real time (as with Pulse Night Club, London terror attacks) remained silent for hours. When he finally tweeted and later spoke, he condemned the hate and violence “on all sides,” but failed to call out the white supremacist terrorists specifically.
When people show up chanting hate filled, racist speech armed with pepper spray, clubs, and riot gear, there are no sides. They are terrorists, anti-American, and completely out of line with our country’s core values. GOP leaders are already critical of Trump’s refusal to acknowledge these tenants. Republican Senator Cory Gardner tweeted, “Mr. President — we must call evil by its name, these were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.” GOP Senator Orin Hatch and House Speaker Paul Ryan issued similar statements, with more certainly to follow. Democrats suggest that Mr. Trump is simply unwilling to alienate the segment of his white electoral base that embraces bigotry.
They may have a point, given Trump’s clear hypocrisy on this matter. Let us imagine that instead of white supremacists, this weekend’s events were orchestrated by a Muslim hate group. Can anyone imagine the president being silent on the matter for so long? Can anyone picture Trump condemning hate and violence from all sides, or instead be clear as he has on many other occasions as he specifically condemns and clearly enunciates, “Radical Islamic Terrorism.”