August 23, 2018 – In the two days since he was implicated as a co-conspirator in a federal crime, the president – with the help of his allies in the right-wing press – has fallen back on his most basic political strategy: stoking racial resentment and fear.
He has not only shamelessly exploited a horrible tragedy in Iowa but tweeted out his intention to put the full force of the U.S. State Department behind a white nationalist conspiracy theory.
The idea of a silent, worldwide genocide against white people has long been a lodestar for white supremacist groups at home and abroad. Trump’s tweet last night about South African farmers – a complicated situation that racist propagandists reduce to a “canary in the coal mine” scenario for white people – is one of the most startling examples of this president indulging in racist thinking. Three years ago, it was white supremacist Dylann Roof who cited the “white genocide” fantasy to justify his mass murder of African Americans in Charleston. Today, it’s the president of the United States.
Since he stepped on the political stage, Donald Trump has electrified the radical right. Through his words and actions, he continues to deliver for what he clearly sees as his core constituency. As a consequence, we’ve seen a rise in hate crimes, street violence and large public actions organized by white supremacist groups that have been further emboldened by the president’s statements about “shithole countries” and his policies targeting refugees and immigrants of color.
Elected officials need to condemn this dangerous behavior and do everything in their power to rein in a president who has demonstrated time and time again that there is no level to which he won’t sink.
The damage of this presidency will be long-lasting.
Heidi Beirich leads the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, which publishes the award-winning Intelligence Report and the Hatewatch blog. She is an expert on various forms of extremism, including the white supremacist, nativist and neo-Confederate movements as well as racism in academia. www.splcenter.org