The Hartford Courant, a newspaper in Connecticut, claimed that voters could not support President Trump without also supporting racism and bigotry against black people.
The Courant made the claim in an editorial published on Sunday just weeks away from the Nov. 3 election. The paper’s editorial board endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the same piece.
Trump has often been maligned as a racist by members of the media and lawmakers on and off Capitol Hill despite his repeated denunciations of white supremacy, racism, and bigotry. The charge has less often been levied against Trump voters, however. The Courant asserted that support for Trump’s alleged racism is impossible to separate from support for his policies.
“President Trump’s views on race and his willingness to exploit deep-rooted divisions are well documented,” the Courant’s editorial board wrote. “He jump-started his 2016 campaign by equating Mexicans with rapists and drug dealers. When racist violence erupted at a Charlottesville, Va., white-supremacist rally, Trump said there were ‘very fine people on both sides.’ And most recently, when asked during a debate with Biden to denounce white nationalism, Trump said it was time for the militaristic hate group the Proud Boys to step back — but also to ‘stand by.’”
The Courant made a slew of references to comments that Trump has made since 2015 that have been argued over and distorted in the press. In June 2015, Trump gave a speech announcing his run for president and laying the groundwork for a campaign that would focus heavily on illegal immigration.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said.
The Courant editorial board also referenced an oft-misquoted line that Trump gave in the aftermath of the Charlottesville clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters. Referring to the debate over Confederate statues, Trump said that there are “good people on both sides” of the debate.
On Sept. 29 during the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden, Trump denounced white supremacy and told the Proud Boys, accused by Biden of causing violence at recent Black Lives Matter protests to “stand back and stand by.” Trump explicitly denounced the group several days later in an interview on Fox News. Notably, the Proud Boys is not a racist organization and is headed by Enrique Tarrio, a Cuban American.
The courant’s editorial board continued, asserting that while many voters may cast a vote without necessarily supporting everything in a candidate’s platform, Trump’s alleged racist conduct is the exception.
“Politics is always about compromise, to a certain extent. It’s rare to find a candidate who lines up with all your beliefs, so you find the one who comes the closest, and you put the other issues on the side,” the editorial board wrote. “But Trump’s racism isn’t the same, not even close. The potential damage he could do to the fabric of our nation is profound. So, his candidacy raises a question: Can you really support Trump without supporting the racism that permeates his administration?”
“The difference now, in 2020, is that Donald Trump doesn’t just exploit racism, he revels in it,” the Courant continued “Trump wears his whiteness like a badge of honor and plays his affinity for groups like the Proud Boys and other agents of racial hatred for applause. Trump doesn’t simply mine the racial divide for political advantage, he treats it like a worldview to be celebrated and adored.”