Throughout the past year, Donald Trump has outlined a divisive vision of America cleaved along racial and religious lines, seeking overtly and implicitly to redefine the conception of what a “true” American is. While some national Republicans are supposedly trying to distance themselves, through such half-measures as declining to attend the upcoming Republican National Convention (RNC), Trump’s vision is, in fact, far from an outlier in the Republican Party.
Consistently, Republicans in the House and Senate prove that their vision for 2016 America and their brand of policy and politics is just as inflammatory and unacceptable as Donald Trump’s. Taking yesterday as just one day’s example, a Republican witness at a Senate subcommittee hearing convened by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) charged that Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) are secret “Muslim Brotherhood” agents, while Republicans in the House and Senate supported a legislative attempt to allow the Confederate flag to fly in federal cemeteries. Of course, these two examples are on top of the usual and ongoing Republican fear-mongering and hardline policy treatment of refugees and immigrants.
During the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing organized by Sen. Cruz, a Republican witness slandered the two Muslim members of Congress by asserting that Rep. Carson and Rep. Ellison had Muslim Brotherhood ties. As Sam Stein and Jessica Schulberg reported for Huffington Post:
“The charge was leveled by Chris Gaubatz, a ‘national security consultant’ who has moonlighted as an undercover agitator of Muslim groups that he accuses of being terrorist outfits, and it was directed at Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and André Carson (D-Ind.). At the heart of his accusation is the attendance by those two members at a 2008 convention hosted by the Islamic Society of North America — a Muslim umbrella group, which Gaubatz claims is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood.
… Allegations that Ellison and Carson are secret Muslim agents with extremist leanings are usually found among fringe groups online, often discussed in dire tones on poorly designed websites. Rarely, if ever, do such sentiments get read into congressional testimony, with the imprimatur that offers.”
Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans were showing their racial sensitivity by attaching an amendment to legislation to fight the Zika virus that would okay the flying of the Confederate flag in federal cemeteries. As Tierney Sneed reported for Talking Points Memo:
“House Republican lawmakers sought to reverse previously passed legislation restricting the display of the Confederate flag in federal cemeteries by slipping a provision stripping the legislation into a larger appropriations bill that included Zika funding. The House bill passed last week on largely partisan lines, but was blocked in the Senate Tuesday by a Democratic filibuster.”
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “The sentiments and animosities that gave rise to Donald Trump have long been stoked by many Republicans, including national ‘leaders’ who remain complicit in the direction of their party. Our country is at its best when we come together to solve problems, not pit groups against each other. Republicans must not only stand up to Trump and his divisive and dangerous vision for America, but reject the other intolerant forces within their Party that enabled his rise.”