President Klan Robe Gives Shout Out To His Proud Boys
Donald Trump can't denounce on any fundamental level white supremacists because they are his supporters and he himself is also quite racist. During last night's debate shitshow, Trump was given another chance to condemn white supremacists, even just the violent ones who terrorize towns and intimidate protesters. He failed as always.
“MODERATOR" CHRIS WALLACE: You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out antifa and other left wing extremist groups. But are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia group and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities as we saw in Kenosha and as we've seen in Portland.
TRUMP: Sure, I'm willing to do that.
WALLACE: Are you prepared specifically to do it?
TRUMP: I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing not from the right wing.
That's a lie. He repeatedly pretends that white supremacist violence (and white supremacy in general) just doesn't exist. He'll mention the times a white woman stubbed her toe running from Cory Booker's shadow, but he can't recall the time a white supremacist murdered a white woman in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But that was back in 2017 and he's busy denying white supremacist violence from this year.
WALLACE: But what are you saying?
TRUMP: I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace.
Yes, he's willing to say pink elephants exist if it'll make everyone happy, except he can't even name any specific pink elephants on account of how they don't exist. He doesn't think white supremacists are a problem. He think their views and their violent acts are perfectly justified. This is because he's a white supremacist (and a bully). But we periodically have to go through this charade where the media asks him to condemn white supremacists because America won't fully accept that its president is George Wallace at his worst.
WALLACE: Well, do it, sir.
JOE BIDEN: Say it, do it say it.
TRUMP: What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name, go ahead who do you want me to condemn.
This is the president of the United States, who's supposed to protect Americans, even the likes of me and my son with all our brown skin, from threats foreign and domestic, but he claims he doesn't know the names of any active white supremacist groups.
Elizabeth Neumann, the former assistant secretary for Threat Prevention in Trump's own Department of Homeland Security before she resigned in disgust, said Trump is either lying or incompetent because her group repeatedly warned the president that white nationalism and white supremacy were growing threats. The DHS and FBI both reiterated this point within the past two weeks.
Neumann herself testified to Congress in March that "every counterterrorism professional I speak to in the federal government and overseas feels like we are at the doorstep of another 9/11, maybe not something that catastrophic in terms of the visual or the numbers, but that we can see it building and we don't quite know how to stop it."
But the commander-in-chief needed a name. Biden quickly provided him one: "Proud Boys."
The FBI designated the Proud Boys a far-right extremist group with ties to white nationalism in 2018. The Proud Boys call themselves a "western chauvinist group." They are violent (white) thugs, so it's not a surprise Trump couldn't condemn them.
TRUMP: Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.
Yeah, that's not condemning. That's a call to arms.
And it got worse! (A theme for the Trump era.)
TRUMP: But I'll tell you what somebody's got to do something about antifa and the Left because this is not a rightwing problem this is a leftwing ...
When rightwing militias show up in “Democrat-run" cities, armed for bear, they believe they are “doing something about antifa and the Left." It's a very Klannish motivation, and the results are the same: escalating and often indiscriminate violence. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in advance of the Proud Boys coming to Portland last weekend. Trump claims he cares about the “violence" in our cities, but he's oblivious to anything other than what Fox News tells him.
Trump had harsher words for Hunter Biden, who hasn't violently attacked anyone. Proud Boys members have been convicted for “attempted gang assault" and rioting after a violent clash with antifa. The president shouldn't imply that one gang should do something about “another gang."
This is your law and order king?
The Proud Boys are already incorporating Trump's statement into their branding. https://t.co/ShMgcvw1z5— nikki mccann ramírez (@nikki mccann ramírez)1601436674.0
The Proud Boys, for their part, appreciated Trump's shout out. They didn't feel condemned. Maybe Trump should've just closed his eyes and imagined they were Black.
Trump said racial sensitivity training is “racist" but he can't condemn the Proud Boys as racist. Elizabeth Neumann warned that Trump's "actions and rhetoric are in fact racist" and make it harder for Homeland Security to do its job keeping all Americans safe, not just those who vote for Donald Trump.
When Biden quoted FBI Director Chris Wray's comments about the relative threats of white supremacy and antifa, Trump said, "Well, then you know what, he's wrong." Trump denial of racial, climate, and public health reality is an ongoing danger to us all.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."