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OPINION | Trump must throw neo-Nazis and KKK out of his base

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Most Trump supporters are not racist but many racists supported Trump for president. The support of rabid racists for a Republican president is a curse on the country, a cancer on the Trump presidency and a calamity for the Grand Old Party.

The CEOs of Merck, Intel and Under Armour have now resigned from the president’s manufacturing council. There will probably be more, for the same reasons many prominent conservatives joined all prominent liberals denouncing Trump’s unwillingness to quickly and unequivocally condemn racist groups and racist leaders who stain our country while they praise the president.

{mosads}The New York Times reported Tuesday that Stephen Bannon, the alt-right powerhouse and the president’s chief strategist, “consulted with the president repeatedly over the weekend” and “cautioned the president not to criticize far-right activists too severely for fear of antagonizing a small but energetic part of his base.”


Here is the key point on the matter of Donald Trump and racism: Racists are indeed a small but energetic part of the base of this president, who lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes and only became president because of a small number of voters in a handful of states.  

With his favorable ratings in a state of continuing collapse, an increasing number of corporate CEOs and Republicans in Congress alarmed by the actions and direction of Trump as president and investigations involving Russia widening and deepening by the hour, Trump has long been unable to unequivocally condemn the racists who Bannon reportedly describes as a key part of his loyal base. 

David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and a fervent supporter of Donald Trump for president in 2016, said the following on Saturday after the racist marches and murder in Charlottesville

“We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

David Duke’s goal is to take America back from all of those Americans who are not white. That is why Duke supported Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. That is why I believe so many members of the KKK and so many neo-Nazis supported Donald Trump. 

The ugly truth is that white nationalists, the KKK, neo-Nazis and other bigots are indeed part of the Trump base. Again, most Trump supporters are not racist, but many racists favor Trump.

This is why President Trump, who has charged that American intelligence officers are Nazis but has so much trouble saying real Nazis are Nazis, has been so horrible on issues of race and so unwilling for so long to clearly condemn the racists who are part of his base.

Trump should throw these bigots out of his base. He should say he does not want their support. He should name names and name hate groups, loudly and repeatedly, and say he does not want their votes, their support, their praise and that he believes they are a stain on America.

Imagine what Abraham Lincoln would think of Donald Trump. The Great Emancipator would be appalled by a president who once spread the lie that President Obama is not an American and now has trouble unequivocally condemning the white supremacist haters who took their bigoted form of terrorism to Charlottesville.

Trump must purge his presidency and cleanse his base from all who promote bigotry, racism and hate. Republicans should take their party back from any president who welcomes support from racists, bigots and haters of all kinds. Americans should take our country back, in the midterm elections in 2018 and the presidential election in 2020, from a president who often praises dictators abroad and accepts support at home from bigots who sing his praises while they preach their hate.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then-chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics. 

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill. 

Tags Alt-right Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Ku Klux Klan neo-Nazis Political positions of Donald Trump Steve Bannon White supremacy

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