America has been transfixed by Donald Trump’s very public betrayal of his oath of office–an oath which requires him to protect and defend our country. But that is hardly his only betrayal of important American values.
In a recent column, Milbank looked at the crop of Republican candidates who surfaced after Trump’s election.
Behold, a new breed of Republican for the Trump era.
Seth Grossman won the Republican primary last month for a competitive House seat in New Jersey, running on the message “Support Trump/Make America Great Again.” The National Republican Congressional Committee endorsed him.
Then, a video surfaced, courtesy of American Bridge, a Democratic PAC, of Grossman saying “the whole idea of diversity is a bunch of crap.” Grossman then proclaimed diversity “evil.” CNN uncovered previous instances of Grossman calling Kwanzaa a “phony holiday” created by “black racists,” labeling Islam a cancer and saying faithful Muslims cannot be good Americans.
There was much more, and the GOP finally withdrew its endorsement. But Grossman is hardly an aberration.
Many such characters have crawled out from under rocks and onto Republican ballots in 2018: A candidate with ties to white nationalists is the GOP Senate nominee in Virginia (and has President Trump’s endorsement); an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier is the Republican candidate in a California House race; a prominent neo-Nazi won the GOP nomination in an Illinois House race; and overt racists are in Republican primaries across the country.
Milbank points to what has become increasingly obvious: As nice people flee the GOP, Trump’s Republican party now needs the support of people like this.
Some of these candidates go well beyond the bounds of anything Trump has said or done, but many have been inspired or emboldened by him. Corey A. Stewart, the Republican Senate nominee in Virginia, said he was “Trump before Trump.”
The party won’t back Stewart, but Republican lawmakers are tiptoeing. Rep. Scott W. Taylor (R-Va.), declining to disavow Stewart, noted to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper that people won’t see him as racist because “my son is named after a black guy.”
If there were only a few of these racists and anti-Semites, you might shrug it off. After all, both parties have had crazy or hateful people run for office (we’ve had some doozies here). They’ve usually been weeded out in party primaries, and they’ve rarely earned official support or endorsement.
In today’s GOP, however, they seem to be everywhere.
Russell Walker, Republican nominee for a North Carolina state House seat, is a white supremacist whose personal website is “littered with the n-word” and states that Jews are “satanic,” Vox reports.
Running in the Republican primary for Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s congressional seat in Wisconsin is Paul Nehlen, who calls himself “pro-white” and was booted from Twitter for racism.
Another Young Guns candidate, Wendy Rogersof Arizona (where Joe Arpaio is fighting for the Republican Senate nomination), has said the Democratic position on abortion is “very much like the Holocaust” and the Cambodian genocide.
As Milbank notes–with examples– these candidates have plenty of role models in the administration and in Congress. Plus, of course, the role-model-in-chief.
Thanks to Trump, today’s GOP is rapidly becoming America’s White Supremicist Party.