This week, in a scathing take-down of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton linked him to white supremacists and white nationalists in the alt-right movement, and laid bare his own history of racial discrimination. Republicans responded with deafening silence.
When the history of the 2016 presidential race is written, it will go down as a defining moment. In a 31 minute speech, Americans became re-acquainted with the Hillary Clinton we got to know during the Democratic convention: a fierce advocate who sweats the details, because “the details matter.” She delivered a carefully crafted 12-point take-down of Donald Trump, detailing his own history of racial discrimination, and linking him to the white supremacist/white nationalists of the alt-right movement — with enough details to leave fact-checkers with little to do.
Clinton spelled out the impact Trump’s rhetoric and his association with far-right bigots on our national discourse.
“From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia,” Clinton said, before reciting a litany of Trump’s blatantly racist assertions. “He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.”
Clinton, in one killer sentence, effectively put Donald Trump in a box he’s unlikely to talk his way out of between now and November.
It all culminated in one brutal paragraph in which Clinton managed to hit on many of the key themes of her address: “A man with a long history of racial discrimination, who traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the internet, should never run our government or command our military.”
Plus, she did it all without ever once actually calling Trump a racist. She laid out the evidence, connected the dots, and trusted Americans to get the picture.
You might expect Republicans would rush to defend their nominee and standard-bearer from such a devastating attack. You would be wrong. The big story, after Clinton’s speech, is the deafening silence of Republican leadershipApparently House Speaker Paul Ryan either couldn’t be bothered or couldn’t bear to watch.
Recap: Asked for response to Clinton’s ‘alt-right’ speech:
Ryan spox: “Doubt he saw it.”
McConnell spox: “I don’t think he saw the speech.”
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) August 26, 2016
The Republican Party has tweeted about everything but Clinton’s speech, and failed to even issue so much as a press release in Trump’s defense. No leading Republicans have come forward to defend Trump. Running mate Mike Pence flew back to Indiana, to survey storm damage, and hasn’t been heard from since.
Not only did no Republicans come forward to defend Trump, but none came forward to denounce him either. Not a singe one in the 24 hours since this speech has come forward to say that they can no longer in good conscience support Donald Trump. Clinton’s speech wasn’t just designed to take down Trump. It was also designed to give Republicans a escape hatch.
Offered one last chance to be on the right side of history, or at least not on the wrong side of it, not one Republican took it. That says as much about the Republican Party as Clinton said about Trump.
Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week:
- Poor Trump surrogate Kaleigh McEnany got taken to school when she dared quote Martin Luther King in her defense of Trump, after Clinton’s speech nailed him racism and ties to the alt-right movement.
- It’s not just Trump. Maine Gov. Paul LePage doubled down on his earlier claim that 90 percent of drug dealers are black or Hispanic. LePage also left a obscenity-laced voicemail challenging Maine Rep. Drew Gattine to a duel for having called LePage racist.
- The Republican mayor of Midland City, Alabama, got racist on Facebook after losing her seat to a black candidate. “I lost. The ni**er won,” griped Mayor Patsy Capshaw Skipper
- In a joyous moment of pure schadenfreude, Donald Trump totally ruined the launch for Ann Coulter’s new book, “In Trump We Trust,” when he appeared to flip-flop on his hardline stance on immigration. Coulter flew into a rage on Twitter, mocking Trump’s new stance.
- RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer apparently lost it when CNN host Brianna Keilar send him why Donald Trump won’t speak directly to black voters.
- Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller told One America News Network’s Graham Ledger that the stakes in this election are so high that if Donald Trump loses, “it’s like Czechoslovakia and Hitler.”
- How far the mighty have fallen. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani went on Fox News to say that Hillary Clinton is winning only because the media is ignoring her health issues. It seems so far beneath a man of Giuliani’s former stature to be on television flogging a long debunked conspiracy theory based on YouTube videos, that the Washington Post editorial board is worried for about his health. (Not really.)
- “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert diagnosed Giuliani as a “man with his head up his own ass.”
- Conservative commentator Ben Stein is no doctor, but he decided to play one on TV, and diagnosed Hillary Clinton for Newsmax host Steve Salzburg. Maybe Stein suffers from the same malady as Giuliani.
- Armed white supremacists surrounded the NAACP building in Houston, Texas, with banner that read “white lives matter,” among other things. Another sign read, “14 words,” a reference to the white supremacist slogan, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
- Liberty Counsel attorney Matt Staver, speaking to a Pennsylvania anti-abortion group, said that only the “brainwashed” think the Supreme Court ruing on marriage equality is really the law of the land. Well, only “brainwashed” by actually reading the Constitution.
- Former congressperson Michele Bachmann said in a Minnesota Public Radio interview that she is now advising Donald Trump on foreign affairs, apparently with an eye towards the “last days.”
- Bachmann also told Breitbart News that President Obama has “sanctioned” violence against conservatives and white people, so long as it protects the “people favorable to the Obama position, politically.”
- Florida Republican candidate for Congress Dan Bongino launched a profanity-laden tirade at Politico reporter Marc Caputo. Bonging apparently objected to an earlier story claiming that most of his campaign donations came from outside his district.
- It’s got to take a lot to rattle Glenn Beck, but Beck was spooked by a call from a Donald Trump supporter who warned “We’re going to come after him personally,” if Trump backs off of his promises on immigration.
- Former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros filed suit against the network, accusing the right-wing media network of operating “like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency, and misogyny.”