From the very beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, his platform was based in hatred.
For a man of so much braggadocious bluster, many of his most-quoted comments are his most-hateful comments:
- People from Mexico are “drug dealers, criminals, rapists.”
- Rosie O’Donnell is a “fat pig,” a “dog,” a “slob.”
- Megyn Kelly “had blood coming out of her wherever” while moderating a 2016 presidential debate.
Those are some of the most-quoted comments. They represent a drop among the plethora of hatred he has uttered or acted upon.
As a political tactic, dividing ‘other’ groups from among one’s own population to make the majority feel superior has worked for others — yes, including Adolf Hitler — and it certainly worked for Donald Trump within the Republican Party. Incredibly:
- He dubbed Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) “Little Marco” and called him “a little man.”
- He called Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) “a pussy,” a “soft, weak little man,” suggested his wife is ugly, successfully dubbed him “Lyin’ Ted.”
- He called Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) “a disgrace,” “a nutjob,” “one of the dumbest human beings.”
- His first wife, Ivana Trump, alleged that Donald Trump once pulled hair out of her scalp in bloody clubs and then raped her. (She later ‘recanted,’ without much explanation of how one can casually take back accusations of this magnitude.)
Incredible, all of these people are among Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters.
Donald Trump is a vitriolic, hateful human being. He has never hidden this with either his words or his actions — and his party embraced him both despite this quality and because of this quality.
In 2016, then-candidate Trump said that Indiana-born judge Gonzalo Curiel should not be allowed to preside over a case because of his Mexican heritage. Since this was the pre-President Trump era, the United States still had some standards of decency and decorum, and there was a great deal of public outcry.
Then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) convened a press conference during which he said he “disavows” Trump’s comments and that they are “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Less than one minute later, he asserted that the 2016 election “is about ideas, it’s about moving our agenda forward,” and he reiterated his endorsement of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for president of the United States:
Ryan gave lip service to rejection of racism while explicitly supporting a racism-fueled political agenda.
But he has nothing on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s truly extraordinary hypocrisies, fitting of an over-the-top satire that dramatizes a stereotypical amoral politician.
Among many other recognitions of Trump’s overt hatred, Graham called Trump “a race-baiting, xenophobic bigot.”
Since that time, Graham has become one of Trump’s most egregiously loyal, ardent, even aggressive supporters in the United States Congress.
Those are only words.
In October of 2015, in what would in fiction be called “telegraphing the story” that would come to a head in January of this year, Trump incited hatred among his followers on Twitter by insulting a 17-year-old girl whom he called “nasty” and “arrogant.” The tweet resulted in Trump’s followers threatening to rape and kill the girl.
Days after Trump won the election in November of 2016, white-supremacist leader Richard Spencer convened white supremacists in Washington, D.C., who he led in a chant of “Hail Trump, hail victory, hail our people” while giving the Nazi salute.
Months later, ABC News reporter Juju Chang interviewed Spencer. He told her that European-descended people are genetically superior.
Chang said “Spencer and his associates feel emboldened by a political landscape he never dreamed of.” She asked him what his reaction was to Trump’s nomination by the Republican party.
“It was a kind of miracle,” he said. He called Trump a hero of the alt-right movement. Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen said, “the term alt-right is a rebranding of white supremacy for the digital age.” (This rebranding component will come into play later in a significant way.)
In Chang’s interview, Spencer called for an “ethnic cleansing” of the United States. He told her that she would not be welcome in his “ethno-state,” and that the United States would become “a whole empire” of a white ethno-state.
Then Spencer said, “I think that the whole paradigm that we are currently living under is going to lead to blood and tears. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but I do think that, yes, it will be a crack up primarily on racial lines.”
Trump began his tenure as president with an executive order signed one week after he was sworn in that attempted to ban people from seven Muslim-predominant countries from entering the United States. The xenophobic order has been cycling through courts ever since, with the U.S. Supreme Court upholding what the ACLU calls Trump’s “Muslim Ban 3.0.”
In 2017, emboldened by Trump’s encouragement, American Nazis and white supremacists convened in Charlottesville, Virginia, bearing tiki torches, red Trump/Make America Great Again baseball caps, and some of them carrying swastikas and Confederate emblems. They chanted “Jews will not replace us,” and a young counterprotestor named Heather Heyer was murdered at the site. Trump, famously, said “there are two sides to a story” and “there are very fine people on both sides.”
This “Unite the Right” rally was organized in part by Richard Spencer, who said, “Charlottesville wouldn’t have occurred without Trump. “He changed the paradigm and made this kind of public presence of the alt-right possible,” he said.
Too much racist and other identity-based hatred transpired over the ensuing years to document it all here. Eventually, though, the alt-right rebranded once again, with a group calling itself the Proud Boys taking over where Unite the Right left off.
According to the Washington Post:
The Proud Boys describe themselves as a “Western chauvinist” men’s club that believes in ending welfare, closing borders and adhering to traditional gender roles. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group maintains affiliations with extremists and is known for misogynistic and anti-Muslim rhetoric. The group’s founder, Gavin McInnes, told NBC News in 2017, “I think it’s fair to call me Islamophobic.”
McInnes, who co-founded Vice News in 1994, launched the Proud Boys in fall 2016 in an essay for Taki’s Magazine, a far-right outlet where white nationalist Richard Spencer previously served as an editor.
During a presidential debate in October 2020, President Donald Trump was asked if he would condemn the Proud Boys. His response — another famous one — was “Proud Boys: Stand back and stand by.”
Many people heard an uncommonly loud dog whistle in his comment. Stand by for what, they asked.
But what harm, really, could come of it?
Then January 6, 2021 came along. Trump had lost the election — but denied that he had lost. He refused to accept the election outcome, meaning that he was suggesting that he would not leave his office as president peacefully. The Proud Boys were off standby, making themselves known as domestic terrorists, cult members and conspiracy theorists. They broke into the United States Capitol Building, they destroyed windows and furniture, they smeared feces on walls, and they allegedly intended to assassinate the vice president of the United States and members of the U.S. Congress.
That’s the result of hateful rhetoric converting into hateful actions.
It’s not the only one, either, just the most visible: 2019 set an all-time record for anti-Semitic hate crimes in the United States. Even as Trump has courted anti-Semitic white supremacy groups throughout his presidency, he and his family have insisted that they cannot be anti-Semitic because his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is Jewish, after all, and daughter Ivanka converted — so the whole family is off the hook for what Trump has said and whom he has courted all these years.
Going back to 2015 and 2016, it is plain to see in no uncertain terms that racism and other “othering” has been not incidental but primary to Donald Trump’s presidency — yet Republicans have continued to push across a false narrative that Black Lives Matter protestors are responsible for racial tensions and violence. And in doing so, they’re very effectively wedging the country farther and farther apart.
Donald Trump’s third-greatest “accomplishment” as president of the United States has been to realize white-supremacist Richard Spencer’s dream — a nightmare for most of us — by turning American people against ourselves, by coaxing latent, unresolved but long-dwindling racism out of the catacombs and nurturing it and then unleashing it on the United States of America.
This Trump Top 10 series is dedicated to Ivanka Trump.
Ivanka Trump asked the American people to judge her father by his results during the 2016 Republican National Convention.