Our nation is on edge, and according to The Washington Post, this may be because President Donald Trump has “fostered the toxic environment.”
While every American yearns for a president who will calmly provide leadership and promote unity, we have a president who instead stokes fear and incites violence through his hateful rhetoric.
Over the past week we have had:
- The killing of two African Americans in a grocery store near Louisville, Kentucky,
- The mailing of pipe bombs by a Trump supporter who was targeting a dozen high-profile Democrats and Trump critics, and
- A mass murder that killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh Jewish synagogue.
And what has the president done?
He has continued to attempt to use fear of a Central American caravan of refugees as a wedge issue to help Republicans in next week’s midterm elections.
In other words, at a time when the nation needs to be brought together he is continuing to try to tear us apart for his own political gain.
Of course Trump has mouthed the right words, denouncing the attacks. But after reading words from a teleprompter he then goes to hold more rallies where he inflames the white supremacist passions of his unhinged supporters.
According to The Post:
“The president and the GOP, in a cynical pursuit of political power, have gone beyond partisan political combat into outright demagoguery against racial minorities, foreigners and prominent Jewish political figures.”
The article mentions that Jewish Democratic donor George Soros, has become a major focus of Republican attack ads ahead of the midterms. Even after a bomb was found in Soros’ mailbox last week, and even after the horrific massacre in Pittsburgh yesterday, right-wing commentators, as well as Trump, have continued their anti-Semitic attacks.
For example, with no evidence, Trump and many right-wing media personalities have accused Soros of paying for protesters at his rallies and paying for the Central Americans in the caravan coming to the U.S.
Experts believe that this kind of rhetoric and the president’s actions provide approval to fringe elements who are considering violence.
“The numerous statements he’s made, calling himself a ‘nationalist,’ crowds at his rallies chanting threats against George Soros — it’s all connected,” said Cecilia Wang, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The alleged synagogue gunman, Robert D. Bowers, posted on the Gab social media site many anti-Semitic postings.
In one such post he connects the Central American caravan to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), which helps resettle refugees in American communities.
“HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in,” Bowers wrote just before he entered the Tree of Life synagogue and murdered 11 Jews.
From the beginning of his campaign Trump has used incendiary language that directly appeals to violent and nativist impulses of certain elements of the U.S. electorate. At one point he was even endorsed by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
According to The Post:
“Trump has shown no inclination of toning down the rhetoric. At rallies in the past few days, he has aimed his ire on the media, accusing reporters of unfair coverage and “negative attacks that only serve to drive people apart and to undermine healthy debate.”
And the ACLU’s Wang believes that Trump will continue “to attack and smear immigrants and refugees.”
“All the violence we see is the extreme and radical version of what he is implementing on a policy and legal front as president of the United States,” she said.
Donald Trump and his allies will deny hit but there is no question that the president has incited — and will continue to incite — political violence. It is no accident. It is exactly what he intended. It is through such hateful words and actions that he has been able to obtain — and to keep — his political power.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.