The fallout from running a transparently racist campaign for president continues to dog Donald Trump. The overtly hateful rhetoric that is a staple of Trump’s daily dialogue has resulted in his winning the support of the nation’s most prominent white supremacist groups.
Trump has also been caught retweeting white supremacists and spreading their vile messages. The organized racist movement in America has been forthright in celebrating Trump’s candidacy as a boon to their cause. As Politico reported in December:
“The Ku Klux Klan is using Donald Trump as a talking point in its outreach efforts. Stormfront, the most prominent American white supremacist website, is upgrading its servers in part to cope with a Trump traffic spike. And former Louisiana Rep. David Duke reports that the businessman has given more Americans cover to speak out loud about white nationalism than at any time since his own political campaigns in the 1990s.”
Indeed, Trump is making it easier for avowed racists to come out of the closet and profess their bigotry with pride. Let’s call it “The Trump Effect.” One of those taking advantage of Trump’s fouling of the political environment is former KKK leader, and current white supremacist, David Duke. The Daily Beast is reporting that:
“The former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and ex-candidate for Louisiana governor told The Daily Beast he is heavily leaning towards challenging Rep. Steve Scalise. Scalise is the No. 3 Republican in the House who reportedly once called himself ‘David Duke without the baggage’ and spoke at a white nationalist group that Duke founded.”
Duke explained that his motivation for running is to become “the only person in Congress openly defending the rights and the heritage of European Americans.” Because, in Dukes mangled mind, whites of European descent are such a beleaguered minority in Congress. He further cited Donald Trump as an inspiration for his campaign and himself as a source of inspiration for Trump:
“I’ve said everything that Donald Trump is saying and more,” he said. “I think Trump is riding a wave of anti-establishment feeling that I’ve been nurturing for 25 years.”
There is some truth to that, and it is why Duke and his peers in racist communities are uniting around Trump. As for Trump, he has taken some widely diverging stances on David Duke. Earlier this year, after Duke officially endorsed Trump, he was asked whether he would condemn Duke and disavow the endorsement. Trump’s answer was a muddled melange of feigned ignorance:
“Well just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, OK? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.”
In that short and babbling statement Trump said “I don’t know” or “I know nothing” seven times. That admission of idiocy is a peculiar defense for not distancing himself from renowned bigots. After all, what more would you need to know about white supremacists, other than that they are white supremacists, in order to condemn them and reject their support?
What’s worse is that Trump’s answer was a flat out lie. Half a year prior to this Trump was asked about Duke in an interview with Bloomberg News and he didn’t have any problem identifying him. He even offered a soft rebuke telling the reporter that he would repudiate Duke “if that would make you feel better.” Notice that the repudiation was not a sincere expression of disapproval, but a sarcastic swipe at the reporter.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
With Trump’s success in the Republican primary he has opened the door for other like-minded racists to seek public office. Not that there weren’t already many doing so. But they now have carte blanche to advertise their biases and still attract votes, at least within the GOP. And that is the opening that David Duke is exploiting. He has Trump to thank for it and, in a way, so does everyone else. At least the racist slimeballs running for office might be more honest about their prejudices and voters will be better able to identify and reject them.