Former White House official Michael Anton on Tuesday asserted that President Donald Trump cannot win reelection without racism because it "inspires and fires up his base."
Anton, who first supported Trump as a blogger in the 2016 election, spoke to NPR's Steve Inskeep about the upcoming vote.
Just minutes after the interview began, Anton attacked Inskeep.
"You and I and your listeners are never going to see it the same way," Anton opined. "You guys see a handful of coal miners in Pennsylvania with Trump signs on their lawn and you get apoplectic that, oh my God, these deplorable people, these racist, fascist, Nazis in the heartland of America are threatening our democracy."
Inskeep interrupted: "With respect, sir, I grew up in Indiana. I went to school in Kentucky. Don't tell me what I see. Don't tell me what I think."
Before the interview was over, the NPR host asked Anton about Trump's history of making racist statements.
"Aside from the substance, the style of launching his campaign by making this remark about Mexicans being rapists," Inskeep recalled.
"See, right there!" Anton exclaimed. "He said some of them. Nobody ever quotes him accurately even. There's a tape, there's a transcript. Anybody can read what he actually said about immigration. You know, he's a big talking, brash talking guy. He says a lot of outrageous things. And if you want to make him look outrageous, it's perfectly fine and capable of doing so by just quoting what he actually said."
"Absolutely," Inskeep agreed before reading a partial list of Trump's racist quotes.
"His brashness inspires and fires up his base," Anton explained. "And it's hard to imagine Trump as popular with his base and basically winning the election or maintaining public support. You know, we could sit here and litigate individual instances of his brashness going too far or maybe actually hurting more than it's helped."
"Is brashness really the word for hundreds of remarks like that?" Inskeep pressed.
Anton defended the president as a "WWF-style figure in politics."
"That is what motivated so many millions of people to cleave to him pretty early in a primary season filled with 16 other Republican candidates," Anton said.
Listen to the interview below from NPR.