There is a famous scene in the movie classic Casablanca where the Prefect of Police, portrayed wonderfully by Claude Rains, closes Humphrey Bogart’s (Rick Blaine’s) bar, saying he “was shocked, shocked that gambling is going on here,” to appease the Nazis while at the same time collecting his evening winnings.
Sadly, people should not be “shocked, shocked” with some of the Presidents comments following the horrific murderous attack on innocent Muslims during Friday prayers in New Zealand by a demented white supremacist who subscribes to the bigoted views of white nationalists.
When asked during the veto ceremony on the resolution calling on him to stop using funds for the emergency construction of a border wall for a fictitious immigration crisis, the President commented that he did not see white nationalism as a threat. He actually seemed more upset over other matters the last two days, making over 50 self-serving tweets. Only one of these posts dealt with the events in New Zealand where he attacked the media for blaming him for the attack in New Zealand His other posts were attacks on Democrats, the Muller Report, Fox News Reporters (as opposed to “pundits” like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, or Jeanine Pirro,) a Saturday Night Live Rerun and the late Senator John McCain’s involvement with the Steele Dossier.
To most observers of the Trump Presidency (including the press and followers of public affairs), his comment about white nationalism not being a threat was, regrettably, not shocking as his indifference to the perils of nativism has been repeatedly demonstrated since his part in the Birther Movement against Barrack Obama. It is also not shocking, given the history, that Trump’s words have at least partly influenced this attack and others over the last two years. His words have also provided cover for local demagogues like Kelli Ward, David Stringer, Paul Gosar, and Andy Biggs and hate groups like the Patriot Movement in Arizona.
What should be of greater worry is that the people in this country are not consistently reminded of the depths of the President’s predisposition against any person or group that does not hail from the British Isles or Northern/Central Europe.
After the saddening events in New Zealand, most media outlets like the Washington Post, Arizona Republic, CNN, Blog for Arizona, and Vox rightly criticized the President for not being more forceful against the rising tide of white nationalist terrorism in this country and around the world.
Unfortunately, journalists in our mainstream press, to the disservice of the American People, shockingly did not probe and explain why the President does not condemn white nationalism. Of the five media sources mentioned in the preceding paragraph, only two: CNN (remember Trump’s always calls them fake news) and Blog for Arizona (in an excellent piece by AZ Blue Meanie) described in depth the Presidents affinity for white nationalist themes, his past insensitivities to previous attacks on nonwhite individuals and groups, his vulgar comments with regards to racial minorities, and his popularity with white nativist and nationalist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.
It is the responsibility of the press, and frankly, the Democrats, to continually remind people that this President:
- Espouses white nationalist views.
- Gives mild reactions when barbarous terrorist acts occur against victims who are of a nonwhite skin tone or non-Christian faith.
- Was the first President in modern memory to be endorsed by the KKK and other white supremacist groups.
- Made objectionable comments to events like Charlottesville or the carnage at the Synagogue in Pittsburgh. He also inappropriately called African countries “sh..hole’s” and individuals crossing our southern border mostly “criminals and rapists.”
- Has supporters like Steve Bannon setting up racist-populist think tanks in places like Italy to spread the white nationalist gospel.
- Equates domestic terrorism with animal rights and climate change activism while putting more emphasis on combatting Islamic terror.
- Views are not shared by the majority of the American public. The Press and Democratic Party Leadership need to continually remind people that Trump’s views are the minority position. Most of the American people value diversity, support legal immigration, and abhor violence against anyone, regardless of race, faith, or sexual orientation. People should remember that Trump was the popular vote loser in 2016 and has never enjoyed the support of most of the nation’s citizens.
It is the responsibility of the press to provide in-depth information for the people to remain informed. That includes the dangers of white domestic terrorism and the President’s reaction to it and his reasons. While some have openly embraced the Trumpist dogma, most do not and need the most accurate information to make prudent decisions. Only informed citizens can make informed choices on election day. When that occurs, there are never election results like the ones people were shocked to wake up to on Wednesday, November 9, 2016. The American people do not need that kind of shock again.