The President of the United States is racist.
The Republican Party is racist.
These are not bugs that they are trying to work out of their politics, but a central reason why you would vote for them. Hate people who don’t look like you? Well, if you’re a white person, the GOP will welcome you with open arms. If you’re unaware of the firestorm set off by our white supremaPOTUS, here’s a report from The Washington Post to catch you up.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.
Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt that they help the United States economically.
In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.
“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”
Proposing to ban immigrants from Haiti while taking more from Norway could not be more transparently bigoted. The White House’s initial statement didn’t deny these comments either. It took until this morning for Trump to repudiate this report. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said the report was accurate, and that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham pushed back against Trump’s comments during the meeting. However, as of this writing, not one member of Republican leadership has spoken out publicly against Trump’s remarks (several Republican Congressmen have condemned Trump’s comments, but no one in a leadership position).
The silence coming from the upper echelon of the GOP is a tacit endorsement of Trump’s comments. There is no middle ground here. You either do or don’t endorse his words, and refusing to take a stand automatically slots you into the “endorse” column. At best, Congressional Republican leadership is filled to the brim with cowards.
Ninety-five percent of Hatians are of African descent. Roughly 70% of NFL players are African American. Trump's base is the Republican Party's base. You do the math.
This is who the Republican Party is. They exist to whip up racist votes in order to elect politicians who enact hyper-corporatist policies that would never pass on their own merits. The GOP preys on the white supremacy which has been embedded in our country since our inception. America was constructed on the backs of African slaves and on the graves of Native Americans. Dick Durbin naively said that no president has ever made those remarks, but the Nixon tapes are but one of many examples which prove him wrong. Thomas Jefferson—one of our most universally beloved founding fathers—intentionally isolated Haiti, refusing to recognize its independence from French colonists. The United States did not accept Haiti's sovereignty until 1862. Racism is a feature—not a bug—of American politics, which is what makes images like this all the more inspiring.
If Donald Trump shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, his voters would be far more likely to abandon him than the Mitch McConnell's and Paul Ryan's of the world. Trump's overt racism is nothing new to America's Grand Old Party. They have just done a better job of masking it behind an array of dog whistles. The modern GOP effectively began with Nixon's Southern Strategy, and Lee Atwater—an advisor to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, and one of the most impactful Republican consultants of all time—disclosed the Republican strategy to whip up racist votes in 1981. Per Atwater:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can't say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states' rights, and all that stuff, and you're getting so abstract. Now, you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
If you support the Republican Party because of tax reform, or any other policy seemingly outside their overt racism, you are also giving power to this sickness which fuels the GOP. You simply cannot separate the GOP's racism from any of its politics. It could not exist in its present iteration without messaging and policies which are specifically designed to denigrate minorities. This is who they are, and Donald Trump is not some anomaly. He is the embodiment of a half-century of Republican dogma, and is the ultimate proof that the Republican Party is America's shithole country.
UPDATE: It took nearly 24 hours, but Paul Ryan finally spoke up. This isn't exactly a full-throated repudiation, and it doesn't get to the racist heart of his comments at all, but it's something, I guess. Still no word from Mitch McConnell, but we'll update this post if he peeks his head from out of his shell.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.