While Some Republicans Offer Criticism of Trump’s Latest Anti-Muslim Policy, Most Still Plan to Support Him if Nominated
Following Donald Trump’s proposal for a shutdown of Muslim immigration to the U.S., many have been quick to denounce his comments, calling them everything from “bigoted” to “racist” to down right “fascist.” While Trump’s comments are nothing short of disturbing, what’s more disturbing is how Trump’s party created the platform for his toxic vitriol in the first place, and have allowed it to infect candidates up and down the ticket.
As Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post explains:
“Trump has been pushing the envelope for months now — from his June campaign announcement in which he said Mexican illegal immigrants were ‘rapists’ to his condemnation of John McCain as something short of a war hero to his made-up tale of ‘thousands’ of New Jersey Muslims celebrating after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. And, with that ratcheting up of rhetoric, he has become increasingly dangerous for the party he is seeking to represent next November.
“Now, with his ‘ban Muslim immigration’ proposal, Trump has become a clear and present danger for a party that badly needs to re-position itself with non-white voters after two sweeping losses at the presidential level in 2008 and 2012. Trump, given his status at the front of the 2016 pack and his increasing willingness to adopt positions on the fringes of mainstream political thought, has the very real potential to cost Republicans up and down the ballot should he be the nominee…
“…What’s remarkable, however, is how little sustained incoming attack Trump has had to deal with — either from his rivals or the party at large. Yes, John Kasich’s super PAC has gone after Trump as dangerously inexperienced in ads. And, yes, every candidate — or at least most of them — condemned Trump’s proposed Muslim immigrant ban tonight.
“But, overall, Trump has been treated with kid gloves by a field that either wants to be the receptacle for his voters if/when the real estate mogul drops out (Cruz) or is simply afraid of the repercussions of attempting to take Trump down (everyone else). It’s like they aren’t even trying to stop what they all acknowledge is a massive and growing problem.”
Bill Kristol, conservative editor of the Weekly Standard, summed up the political stakes for the GOP best by tweeting this yesterday:
“Other GOP candidates will denounce this. Will they also say they couldn’t support him if somehow he becomes nominee?”
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) answered that question this morning with a resounding “no.” At a press conference, Ryan characterized Trump’s comments as “not who we are as a party.” But when pressed about whether he’d support Trump if he becomes the nominee, Ryan said, “I’m going to support whoever the Republican nominee is and I’m going to stand up for what I believe in as I do that.”
According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: “It’s easy to condemn a racist like Donald Trump, but its not enough to condemn his words if you end up rallying around him later on as the nominee. So far, Republican leaders–on the campaign trail and Capitol Hill–seem content to let him be the tail that wags the GOP dog, so long as they slam his toxic, un-American vitriol in the process. Well, sorry GOP, but words aren’t enough. You need to show leadership and that you’re capable of distancing yourself from racist demagogues like Donald Trump. This is not just a fight over which party can retake the White House; it’s a fight over which type of party the GOP wants to be: one with a future or one that we can only read about in history books. So far, it looks like the restrictionist side is winning—and threatening the Party’s future the process.”
To back up his comments, Trump cited bogus Center for Security Policy data on Muslims in the U.S., showing that “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad” and that 51% “agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.” In what should shock no one, the Center for Security Policy is a hate group run by white nationalist, Frank Gaffney. Not only that, but Trump also has support from a number of other fringe conservatives, including the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy, Fox News’s Erick Erickson, Texas Radio Host Michael Berry and a number of other white nationalist media.
Gaffney has recently increased his anti-refugee and anti-Muslim activities over the past year and his rhetoric is only getting worse. During a Q&A session at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver in June of this yearan attendee asked Gaffney to comment on “Somali colonies” working in meatpacking plants in Colorado. Gaffney responded to the question by stating, “I don’t know about you, but it kind of creeps me out that they are getting jobs in the food supply of the United States.” And in September of this year, Gaffney invited white nationalist Jared Taylor on his radio show to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis, during which Gaffney called Taylor’s vile American Renaissance website, “wonderful,” and asked, “Is it the death of Europe what we’re seeing at the moment in terms of this migration, this invasion?”
In addition to their national work, Gaffney’s group is also working on creating model legislation at the county level that would ban all Syrian refugee relocation to a particular county, if passed. He has also taken Ann Corcoran, the face of the anti-refugee movement in America, under his wing. In April of this year, Corcoran released a pamphlet published by Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy “Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra to America,” which calls on Americans to oppose the opening of mosques in their neighborhoods and also calls for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S.
Added Tramonte, “Freedom of religion is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution, and any candidate that rejects this founding principle of our nation should be immediately disqualified from leading this country. We already knew that Donald Trump would be willing to trash the Constitution if and when it suited him. If the rest of the GOP embraces him after a pledge like this, they are just as bad.”