After stoking white nationalism, accusing a federal judge of being unfair because of his Mexican heritage, declaring there were some “very fine” people marching with neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, demonizing refugees as an “invasion” and “infestation,” instigating a policy to rip migrant children from their parents’ arms, telling four nonwhite members of Congress to “go back” where they came from and cheering the burglary at the home of Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) — whose city he claimed was “rat and rodent infested” — President Trump finally appeared before the public Monday morning to say, “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. ... Hate has no place in America.”
It would be laughable if it were not so infuriating. He appeared to blame social media for the rise in hate. In one regard, he has a point: Twitter has been Trump’s bullhorn for spreading vile bigotry and xenophobia. He trotted out the trope about dealing with mental health. There was no promise (as suggested in his tweets) to address background checks. His call for the FBI to take action to prevent hate crimes rings hollow, given his administration’s cuts to efforts fighting domestic terrorism.
There was no sincere remorse for his own role in fanning racism. As a final insult and indication of abject insincerity, he ended with “and may God bless the people of Toledo.”
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) gave us the perfect encapsulation for how we should regard Trump’s empty words. She declared, “I’m too busy watching what he’s doing to hear what he’s saying”:
A spokesman for former vice president Joe Biden tweeted: “This all comes from a discredited man who has called white supremacists and neo-Nazis … ‘very fine people,’ fomented hatred against immigrants from the day he announced his campaign in 2015, and just last month called for American citizens who are women of color to ‘go back.’”
Trump is uniquely unsuited to the moment not only because he lacks empathy and decency. If we as a country truly want to speak with one voice and condemn hate, we must collectively throw him out of office. He’s the largest, loudest megaphone for white nationalism and for anti-immigrant fervor. He’s an implacable opponent of serious gun safety legislation. He is not merely in the way. He is the problem.
Perhaps Democratic presidential candidates can put differences aside and issue a joint condemnation of Trump’s role in propagating hate and racism. They likewise should indict the Republican Party that coddles him, defends him and supports his reelection. A party unwilling to dump an open racist is just as unfit to serve as he is.
Trump is not merely a failure as the United States’ leader but also a threat to its democracy, its moral fabric and its safety. In the absence of a leader to unite the country, Democrats who seek to replace him can step into the void and show that without Trump at the helm, we can be a better, kinder and safer country.