Two Democratic presidential candidates – Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke – said Wednesday that they consider President Donald Trump to be a white supremacist, an extraordinary charge against a sitting president.
Both White House hopefuls shared their comments on a day when Trump visited two cities mourning mass shootings, including El Paso, where the gunman who killed 22 people appeared to have written an essay echoing Trump’s disparaging language about immigration.
The New York Times reported that Warren, asked in a brief interview if she believes Trump is a white supremacist, replied “yes” without hesitation.
“He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists,” Warren said during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “He’s done the wink and a nod. He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He’s done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country.”
O’Rourke was asked during an interview on MSNBC if he considers Trump to be a white supremacist.
“He is,” O’Rourke replied. “He’s also made that very clear. He’s dehumanized or sought to dehumanize those who do not look like or pray like the majority here in this country. . . . He’s been clear who he wants to keep out with walls and cages and militarization and torture and cruelty.”
While other candidates have accused Trump of being a racist and sowing racial discord, the comments by Warren and O’Rourke go further.
In remarks Wednesday in Iowa, for instance, former Vice President Joe Biden accused Trump of having “fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation” but stopped short of calling Trump a white supremacist.
Trump, in an address Monday from the White House, urged the nation to condemn white supremacy, and on Wednesday, as he departed on visits to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, he said he does not like hate, “whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy.”
Trump has also repeatedly called himself “the least racist person in the world.”
Since taking office, Trump has generated numerous controversies related to race.
Among the more recent was his call for four liberal minority congresswomen to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Only one of the freshman lawmakers targeted by Trump, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was born outside the United States. She became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
Trump also has recently trained his ire on Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., an African American lawmaker whose majority-black district includes part of Baltimore, which Trump described as a “rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · John Wagner