In a new column this week, conservative writer George Will said clearly what many of his ideological brethren have been unwilling to say.
“It is not implausible to believe that Trump’s years of sulfurous rhetoric — never mind his Monday-morning reading, seemingly for the first time, of words the teleprompter told him to recite — can provoke behaviors from susceptible individuals, such as the alleged El Paso shooter,” Will wrote. “If so, those who marked ballots for Trump — we have had quite enough exculpatory sociology about the material deprivations and status anxieties of the white working class — should have second or perhaps first thoughts. His Republican groupies, meanwhile, are complicit.”
Will, who left the GOP after Trump’s takeover of the party, connected the attack in El Paso directly to Trump’s own rhetoric. Specifically, he opened the piece by describing Trump’s May 8 rally in Florida when the president cheerfully took up the suggestion from a fan who said we should “shoot” immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” Trump said with a grin.
As Will noted, the media has become so saturated with coverage of the presidency that Trump has become inescapable. That places the events of his rally at the forefront of national consciousness — and, perhaps, at the forefront of the El Paso shooter’s mind.
“This president is not just one prompting from the social environment; he, in his ubiquity, thoroughly colors this environment, which becomes simultaneously more coarse and less shocking by the day,” wrote Will.
But Trump’s violent rhetoric, which many have observed, points out an “essential fact” about the president, Will argued: “Trump’s fascination with what he utterly lacks and unconvincingly emulates: strength.”
Trump doesn’t “merely pollute the social atmosphere with invectives directed at various disfavored minorities; he uses his inflated office not just to shape this atmosphere but to be this atmosphere.”
He concluded: “Today’s long — and perhaps occasionally lethal — national embarrassment will continue at least until Jan. 20, 2021. If it continues longer, this will be more than an embarrassment to the nation, this will be an indictment of it.”
While no longer a Republican, Will hasn’t taken the steps some other anti-Trump conservatives have of openly embracing Democrats and rethinking many of his old positions. But the op-ed shows that he takes seriously the role Trump plays in spreading racism and white supremacy, a fact even many Trump-skeptical conservative writers are eager to dismiss. He acknowledges that the party has been utterly corrupted by the president and that Trump’s persistence in power is a deep stain on and danger to the nation.
Russia went looking for puppets in America — and they found Trump and the Republicans
The Russians wasted decades infiltrating the left attempting to gain purchase in American political life. There was the Communist Party USA, of course. Established in 1919, the CPUSA grew through the 1930s and boasted a membership of about 100,000 at the beginning of World War II. A hundred thousand! Whoop-de-doo!
This article first appeared in Salon
Then there were the spinoff lefty parties like the Socialist Workers Party, the Progressive Labor Party, the Workers World Party, the Socialist Labor Party, the Progressive Labor Party — we could go on listing one splinter group after another with “socialist” or “labor” or “workers” in its title. They were tiny groups with memberships that were sometimes less than 100, and they would all deny being infiltrated by the Russkies, naturally. So would the “New Left” groups that came later, like SDS and The Weathermen. Nobody wanted to admit they were under Russian influence. Everything they were doing, from opposing the war in Vietnam to civil rights to fighting for free speech, was being done for completely pure reasons.
William Barr made it clear this week that he’d sign off on a sham investigation into the Dems’ 2020 nominee
Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
A perfect storm propelled New York's sleaziest real estate developer to an Electoral College victory in 2016 despite winning three million fewer votes than his opponent, but Nate Silver made a compelling argument that the letter James Comey sent to Congress just 11 days before Election Day announcing that the FBI was re-opening its probe into Hillary Clinton's emails was decisive.
Is Donald Trump a supporter of Israel? Sure — he’s also an anti-Semite
On Wednesday, Jared Kushner, who is both a White House senior adviser and President Trump's son-in-law, published an op-ed article in The New York Times defending the president's recent executive order supposedly meant to combat anti-Semitism. The controversial measure will establish that "Title VI of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against discrimination based on race, color or national origin covers discrimination against Jews" and defines anti-Semitism using the language of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.