See below for video from former Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s appearance this morning on Meet the Press, where he was asked about Donald Trump’s latest, racist attack on African Americans. McAuliffe, by the way, is coming out with a book this Tuesday entitled, “Beyond Charlottesville: Taking a Stand Against White Nationalism.” According to McAuliffe:
“This is horrible for the country. What Donald Trump has done to create divisions in our nation today is going to take a long time for us to get over – let it be with Elijah Cummings, what he did with ‘the Squad’, when he started out stopping people from these seven countries from coming to America. As governor, I was a Dulles Airport, U.S. citizens were being detained who had come in from these countries. And then of course there was Charlottesville. I talked to the president that day. I told him what was happening. We had 1,000 armed people from 35 states screaming the most disgusting things that I could not say on this program. Going by the synagogue saying we’re going to burn you, we’re going to burn that synagogue like we did at Auschwitz. How did we get to a place like this in America? And I blame not for specific acts, but I really blame him…for the atmosphere; and he’s continued to double down to divide these people. People used to wear hoods in this country, they used to do it at night, now they think they can walk in broad daylight. It has to stop.”
It’s hard to disagree with the gist of that, although I’d argue that Trump most certainly hasn’t singlehandedly created racial divisions/racism in our nation, but instead that he’s the latest in the Republican Party’s decades-long employment of racist “dog whistles” and “Southern strategy” (“a Republican Party electoral strategy to increase political support among white voters in the South by appealing to racism against African Americans…In the 1968 election, Richard Nixon saw the cracks in the Solid South as an opportunity to tap into a group of voters who had historically been beyond the reach of the Republican Party”). Of course, Trump has a long history of racism and of stoking racism in vicious, dangerous ways:
On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly made explicitly racist and otherwise bigoted remarks, from calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists to proposing a ban on all Muslims entering the US to suggesting a judge should recuse himself from a case solely because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.
The trend has continued into his presidency. From stereotyping a black reporter to pandering to white supremacists after they held a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, to cracking a joke about the Trail of Tears, Trump hasn’t stopped with the racist acts after his 2016 election.
Most recently, Trump tweeted that several black and brown members of Congress are “from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and that they should “go back” to those countries. The tweets, aimed at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), exemplify a common racist trope used against immigrants and minority groups who criticize US policies. Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, condemned Trump’s tweets as racist.
And now, of course we have Trump’s racist attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings and the heavily African-American city of Baltimore. So I totally agree with Terry McAuliffe that these “daily racist attacks” contribute to “an atmosphere of hate” and “divide us” even further. The big question is whether voters will reject not just the Racist-in-Chief in November 2020, but the entire Republican Party for aiding, abetting, paving the way for, excusing, and letting Trump get away with this crap. Here in Virginia, of course, we can start by voting as many Republicans out of the State Senate, House of Delegates and local offices this November. Because, the sad fact is, essentially ZERO Virginia Republicans have condemned Trump’s racism – certainly not in any serious or clear way, that’s for sure. Which means that they either agree with Trump’s racism, have no problem with that racism, or are simply too afraid of their party’s voters to do anything but cower in silence. Note, by the way, that racism is a much better predictor of support for Trump than “economic dissatisfaction,” so that’s a good chunk of the Republican “base” that Republican politicians are pandering to.
With that, here’s video of McAuliffe’s comments this morning on Meet the Press about Trump’s racism, and also video of McAuliffe talking about impeachment. On the latter issue, I agree strongly with McAuliffe on this. I’d add that Trump richly DESERVES impeachment/conviction/prison, but there’s Z-E-R-O chance of the Republican-controlled Senate ever convicting him, and I don’t understand how it helps Democrats politically to move ahead with something that can’t succeed, but that distracts everyone from the enormous damage Trump and the Republicans are doing to our democracy, rule of law, race relations, income inequality, the environment, etc, etc. So on this one, I’m with Speaker Pelosi, former Gov. McAuliffe, etc.
“I’ve done 56 events [around Virginia]…I don’t think one time has the impeachment issue been raised…are we going to spend all our time talking about impeachment, which we know they can’t get him in the Senate? I mean, he could rob a bank and the Senate would not convict him…We win when we talk about health care, infrastructure, good-quality jobs; those are the core Democratic values, and we’d better spend our time talking [about them]. What Democrats care about is beating Donald Trump…If beating him means we’re going to go talk about these issues and not impeachment, that’s what they want.”
I talked to @realDonaldTrump after Neo-Nazis & White Supremacists brought death and violence to Charlottesville. He told me he would call them out for what they are. He didn’t do it. And now his daily racists attacks continue to divide us & allow an atmosphere of hate. Terrible. pic.twitter.com/kDNbeZLc7k
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) July 28, 2019