Haberman: Trump ‘seems to be leaning into racist statements’
New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman said former President Trump “seems to be leaning into racist statements” after his most recent attack on Elaine Chao, his former Transportation secretary.
Haberman told CNN’s Don Lemon on Wednesday that Trump has been leaning into racist comments more “aggressively” since he left office, and she expects it to continue.
Haberman was reacting to Trump’s latest attack on Chao and her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). In a post on his Truth Social platform last week, Trump said McConnell had a “DEATH WISH” for supporting bills sponsored by Democrats and referred to Chao, using a racist nickname, as McConnell’s “China loving wife.”
McConnell has had a long-running feud with Trump, especially since McConnell denounced him for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Trump has repeatedly criticized McConnell online and in speeches, at times also going after his wife.
Haberman said Trump made a “veiled threat” against McConnell in saying he had a death wish. She said Trump’s supporters would say he meant politically and not physically, but she added that there is “no excuse” for those types of comments after Jan. 6 because it is clear what impact his words have on his supporters.
Haberman said everything that Trump hinted at during his presidency and campaigns and refused to disavow will be seen more overtly in the future.
The reporter said Trump has made a series of racist statements over a long period of time and has incorporated racial paranoia into his public persona for decades.
“At a certain point, his backers will say he’s misunderstood, how many times is someone misunderstanding him?” Haberman said.