Trump Energized Hate Groups, But Sanders Claims He’s A Unifier

Sarah Huckabee Sanders (VOA News)

People who analyze President Donald Trump’s speeches have noticed a shocking uptick in his rate of lying. This is startling considering the president tells an average of eight lies a day.

The latest lie to come out of the White House is the ridiculous idea that Trump has brought the country together. Evidently, the Trump administration is scrambling for cover after last week’s hate crimes, that included white supremacists killing black and Jewish people, and a Trump acolyte mailing pipe bombs to Democratic politicians.

The lie is being coordinated from the White House out to the right-wing echo chamber. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave a disastrous press conference on Tuesday, where she rolled out the lie only to be beaten back by an incredulous press corps.

She tried to blame division in the country on the media, not Trump’s rhetoric.

“The president has had a number of moments of bringing the country together,” she said. “You guys have a huge responsibility to play in the divisive nature of this country when 90 percent of the coverage of everything this president does is negative despite the fact that the country is doing extremely well.”

This lie is gaslighting of the worse kind. According to the PBS documentary “The Choice,” Trump thinks that if he repeats something enough times, eventually people will believe it. (This is a Nazi technique.) Unfortunately, there are some Americans dumb enough to fall for this propaganda, but the rest of us, who read books and can think critically, won’t.

Trump’s latest attempt to gaslight the American public is laughable. His rhetoric can be directly tied to an increase in both hate crimes and membership of far-right groups.

According to Reuters , 2017 saw a 4 percent increase in hate group membership. The number rose by 2.8 percent in 2016.

“That is largely due to the actions of President Trump, who’s tweeted out hate materials and made light of the threats to our society posed by hate groups,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project.

Trump’s campaign was based on white grievance. One of the pundits interviewed in “The Choice,” said Trump appealed to the “Archie Bunker crowd.”

The Trump campaign was about maintaining the white majority and demonizing anyone who wasn’t a white, conservative Christian male. He also encouraged white supremacists by refusing to condemn David Duke and saying there were great people on both sides of the “Unite the Right” march.

Trump has been the direct opposite of a unifier. He has stoked division in this country and poured gasoline on America’s smoldering racial tensions. The Congressional Black Caucus appropriately called him a “racial arsonist.”

After Trump faced condemnation for directing attacks at the media, he promised to play nice. But in a few days, he was back to calling the press the enemy of the people.

America is a diverse country with people of different ethnic backgrounds and multiple faiths. And they get along, for the most part. The president’s job is to encourage these groups to live in peace and hold the country together. And that’s what they’ve done in the past. President George H.W. Bush told David Duke he had no place in the GOP and his son, President George W. Bush visited a mosque soon after 9/11 to reassure Muslims. But Trump has done nothing like that.

Now his fanatics are trying to convince us he’s a unifier. That might work on MAGA lords, who’ve drunk the kool-aid, but not in the real world.

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store