President Donald Trump has a problem with throwing rocks when he lives in a glasshouse, a Washington Post columnist explained on Monday.
"President Trump’s supporters have proved willing to turn a blind eye to big sections of his biography. But as he redirected his social media efforts Monday from describing Baltimore’s challenges to criticizing activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, Trump seemed to be hoping to draw attention to Sharpton’s own controversial past," Eugene Scott wrote.
"Sharpton is regularly criticized in conservative media and depicted as someone who frequently takes advantage of racial tensions by magnifying questionable stories to boost his public profile. That’s how Trump supporters described him Monday," Scott explained. "But Trump supporters’ argument that Sharpton lacks credibility because of his position on racial matters 30 years ago seems hypocritical if you consider that one way these same people have tried to rally support for the president is by encouraging voters to ignore his past controversies."
As an example, Scott cited the controversial defense offered by Franklin Graham during the 2016 election.
"I believe at 70 years of age the president is a much different person today than he was four years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago, whatever. We just have to give the man the benefit of the doubt," Graham argued.
But Trump's history -- especially when it comes to racism and misogyny -- are difficult to overlook.
"In 1989, after a young white woman was brutally raped and beaten while jogging in Central Park, Trump spent more than $80,000 on full-page ads in four New York newspapers demanding that the death penalty be reinstated so that the five black and Latino teenagers suspected of the crime could be executed," he reminded. "Years later, the men were exonerated with the help of another man’s confession and DNA evidence. By the time they received a $41 million settlement from the city of New York, the five men had spent much of their lives behind bars. Trump has never apologized for calling for their deaths."
"It is not just the president’s past stances on criminal-justice issues that his supporters want voters to forget or believe he is rehabilitated from. They want voters to ignore his failed marriages — as well as the tabloid drama surrounding them — and that the real estate developer who shot to stardom with a hit television show portraying him as a successful businessman has more business failings under his belt than is commonly known," he reminded. "And they want voters to forget that, when it comes to matters of race, Trump’s record of being on the wrong side of issues was so significant that the federal government successfully sued him for racial discrimination."
There's hypocrisy inherent in the defenses offered by Trump supporters.
"All of which is to say that, for Trump supporters, the logic goes something like this: Who Trump was in the 1980s and 1990s is irrelevant to who he is today, but who his critics were during the same period is of utmost importance in understanding who they are today," Scott concluded.
Read the full column.