Prominent GOPer: “That only shows that there are no Republican leaders of Lincolnian stature”
When choosing new leadership to revamp his struggling campaign, Trump looked past mainstream Republican options and instead chose Stephen Bannon. As the former executive chairman for Breitbart News, Bannon spearheaded a website notorious for conspiracy theories and white nationalism.
Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart became the home of Trumpism before Trump. It then became known as “Trumpbart” as Bannon turned the outlet into “Trump Pravda.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and not surprisingly, it became the favorite place for the so-called “Alt-Right” — white supremacists interested in mainstreaming their views:
“Breitbart recently published a lengthy defense of the Alt-Right, claiming the white nationalists such as Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor who created the ideology “have been accused of racism,” choosing to ignore the well-documented openly-racist views. But Breitbart’s open defense of the Alt-Right didn’t appear out of thin air. Over the past year the media outlet has been openly promoting the core issues of the Alt-Right, introducing these racist ideas to its readership – much to the delight of many in the white nationalist world who could never dream of reaching such a vast number of people. Breitbart has always given a platform to parts of the radical right, most notably elements of the organized anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant movements. Breitbart has also organized conferences featuring nativist speakers and published op-eds and interviews with movement leaders. But since 2015, Breitbart began publishing more overtly racist diatribes about Muslims and immigrants.”
Yesterday’s marriage of the Trump campaign and Breitbart confirms what we’ve long contended: at the core of Trump’s campaign is racism and bigotry. That is why we believe the 2016 election is about more than just Trump. It is a referendum on what kind of America we are and aspire to be. Will we succumb to the crude and cruel “us vs. them” fear mongering of Trumpism? Or will we deliver a landslide victory for a pluralistic patriotism that sees the building of an inclusive multiracial democracy as the fulfillment of America’s promise?
At this point in the election, it seems that a majority of voters are prepared to stand up for inclusion and reject Trumpism. We wish we could say the same for the vast majority of Republican leaders. Outrageously, their silence renders them complicit as Trump and his Breitbart buddies work to rebrand the GOP as the white nationalist party.
In a heartfelt piece David Irvine, a former State Representative in Utah, writes of his refusal to back Trump and his decision to vote for Hillary Clinton. He adds:
“It is unfortunate that so many of those who claim to be leaders of the congressional and presidential wings of the Republican Party have long since made their Faustian bargains and are actively endorsing a totally self-centered know-nothing who behaves like the caricature of a banana-republic dictator. That only shows that there are no Republican leaders of Lincolnian stature. It is especially dissonant when they have to distance themselves more than once per week from the outrageous statements of a man who even disparages the sacrifice of a heroic Army officer’s Muslim family. There’s a point where this failure to withdraw an endorsement becomes a self-indicting embrace of a demagogue’s values.”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “It’s time for a reckoning, GOP leaders. Trump just picked a CEO for his campaign who makes it a practice to attack you relentlessly, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and John McCain. He goes after you almost as viciously as he goes after immigrants, Muslims, and women. What about you, elected leaders in swing states? Where’s the leadership from you, Senators Rubio, Burr, Johnson, Portman, Ayotte and Toomey, Representatives Coffman, Heck, and others? How much longer will you allow your acquiescence and silence to aid and abet Trump and his Alt-Right fanboys? Are you going to continue to maintain that Trump is, or may be, the right person for the most powerful office in the world? This is no longer just about one election, important and consequential as it is. It’s about what kind of country we are and want to be, and those that don’t stand up for America now will be forever remembered as cowards and collaborators.”