In less than ten minutes, Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer showed more political courage than the entire Republican Party by laying blame for white supremacist domestic terror attack in his city on Donald Trump’s courtship of racism during his presidential campaign.
On CNN’s State Of The Union, Mayor Signer said, “Well, look at the campaign he ran. I mean, look at the intentional courting, both on the one hand of all these white supremacists, white nationalists, a group like that, anti-Semitic groups, and then look on the other hand the repeated failure to step up, condemn, denounce, silence, you know, put to bed all those different efforts, just like we saw yesterday. ”
Signer expanded on his thoughts on NBC’s Meet The Press:
The Mayor said, “An old saying, “when you dance with the devil, the devil doesn’t change, the devil changes you.” And I think they made a choice in that campaign, a very regrettable one, to really go to people’s prejudices, to go to the gutter. These influences around the country, these anti-Semites, racists, Aryans, Nazis, KKK, they were always in the shadows.”
Mayor Signer said the one thing that no Republican has yet to say. Republicans have broken with Trump. They have called for the President to make a stronger statement, but what they haven’t done is lay blame at the feet of the President, because his presidential campaign created the perfect environment for this sort of domestic terrorism to flourish.
The story is about more than Trump lack of basic morality and failure to lead. It is also about how many elected Republicans hypocritically condemn racism while profiting off of it. Republicans embracing racism is nothing new. For years, elected Republicans dodged questions about Obama birtherism while making vague statements that were dog whistle appeals to racists. Trump was the next step in the behavioral pattern.
Republicans won’t call out Trump’s campaign for their racism because they benefit from using the same tactics.
Mayor Signer showed what real leadership looks like in a crisis, and exposed Trump enabling Republicans as the gutless cowards that they are.