COMMENTARY: Trump Tries to Put Racism Genie Back in Bottle as Racists Celebrate
By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
During this week’s presidential debate, President Trump said a white supremacists’ organization should “stand back and stand by” at the same debate he told supporters to monitor polling places and watch what was going on.
On social media, right wing supremacists’ organizations were elated with Trump’s words and viewed it as a sign of support. By the afternoon on September 30, Trump was on defense for his lack of willingness to denounce racism and white supremacy.
“I don’t know who Proud Boys are,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “But whoever they are they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work.” Trump was asked again by reporters if he welcomes the support of white supremacists. “I want law and order — it’s a very important part of my campaign.”
Trump then repeated the words “let law enforcement do their work,” again and again. On Capitol Hill, Republicans ducked questions but when they were forced to respond, placed Trump under the bus.
“With regard to the white supremacy issue, I want to associate myself with the remarks of Tim Scott,” Mr. McConnell said. “He said it was unacceptable not to condemn white supremacists and so I do so in the strongest possible way.”
In 2016 Trump used the “I don’t know that is” tactic when asked if he welcomed the support of former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. Trump feigned not knowing who Duke was and contorted into pretzels to avoid saying anything critical about him or that Duke was supporting him.
Though Sen. Scott, the only Black GOP U.S. Senator, called the lack of condemning white supremacy “unacceptable” he also was widely seen on camera saying Trump “misspoke.”
“I think he misspoke,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, told reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. “I think he should correct it,” Scott said. “If he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak.”
“The next opportunity the President has to clarify that answer — because folks like you and others are confused by it — then he should do that,” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on ABC News. Christie helped Trump with debate prep.
But no one was confused. Trump has a long history of giving obvious approval of racism through his silence and his affirmative public statements. The reaction after his lack of condemnation of racism on a national stage was consistent with what he has said and done in the past. But this time, Trump appeared to sense he may have gone too far. That several polls indicate Biden has a lead in several key states on the electoral college map it may not matter.