Donald Trump really is a big-tent Republican, at least in term of bigots and racists. If you hate a minority group, you are very welcome inside Trump’s tent.
There are the white supremacists in Charlottesville whom he defended as “very fine people.” And people like former KKK grand wizard David Duke who have openly praised Trump many times, including last November with this tweet after Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos: “Thank God for Trump! That's why we love him!”
Speaking of anti-Muslim activists, they are all in for Trump. After all, their allies John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are part of the Trump administration. Plus we can’t forget the right-wing, white evangelical leaders like Robert Jeffress who love Trump while spewing anti-LGBT and anti-Mormon hate. It’s like Trump is bringing together an “Avengers” of hate-filled bigots who all fight on his side.
And now we can expand that tent of hate to include Louis Farrakhan. Yep, the despicably anti-Semitic spewing leader of the Nation of Islam is now praising Trump. And the reason he’s touting Trump should be concerning for anyone actually who actually supports law enforcement, a robust media and, frankly, democracy.
In an interview published Friday, Farrakhan exalted Trump for destroying their common enemies. As Farrakhan explained, “The nature of this administration is good for us,” adding as a compliment, “There’s never been a president quite like Mr. Trump.”
Then Farrakhan spelled it out in detail: “Trump is destroying every enemy that was an enemy of our rise.” The 86-year-old Nation leader then asked rhetorically: “Who is the enemy of our rise?”
Want to guess who Farrakhan views as his enemies? Interestingly, the very same enemies Trump sees as preventing his own “rise.” We are talking the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the media.
On the FBI, Farrakhan gleefully praised Trump’s efforts to destroy the legitimacy of this law enforcement agency saying: “Now, the FBI, go at it, baby. They’ve been beating the hell out of us ever since J. Edgar Hoover… So go ahead, Mr. Trump.”
Farrakhan then slammed the Department of Justice, another Trump target, noting: “Is it the Department of Justice where we get none?”
And on Trump’s favorite target, the media, Farrakhan again thanked Trump for undermining its credibility, noting: “Is it the media that has destroyed every Black leader that stood up for us calling us out of our name?” He then invoked Trump’s favorite phrase to delegitimize the media saying: “I know very well that we have been the victims of some ‘fake news.’”
There you have it. Trump and his new BFF Farrakhan share common enemies of the media, FBI and DOJ. Why do these two both attack these guardrails of our democracy? In Trump’s case, his barbs are clearly designed to flatten these speed bumps on his way to authoritarianism. In Farrakhan’s case, it’s likely more about personal gain.
So what has the right’s response been to Farrakhan openly praising Trump? You would think they would be quick to denounce any cheerleading by Farrakhan given his open anti-Semitism over the years. Farrakhan has publicly praised Hitler as “a very great man” and spewed hate of Jews, such as his speech in February where he equated Jews to Satan as well as declaring that, “Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out turning men into women and women into men.”
You would especially think the Trump and GOP would make it clear they want nothing to do with Farrakhan after they recently demanded the very same of Democrats who had any ties to him. In fact, many on the right were up in arms in January when an old photo from 2005 of Barack Obama simply standing next to Farrakhan surfaced.
And after Farrakhan’s February speech, you heard Fox News demand a short time later: “Why aren't more Democrats condemning Louis Farrakhan?” Same with the national Republican Party which in March highlighted several Democratic members of Congress leaders who had any connections to the Nation’s leader and demanded to know why it wasn’t “bigger news?”
In response, Democratic officials who did have connections to Farrakhan, even very remote, did publicly condemn Farrakhan’s history of hate. For example, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif) tweeted bluntly: “I’ve spent my life fighting discrimination in every form, from anyone. I unequivocally condemn Minister Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic and hateful comments. This vitriol has no place in our society.”
That’s the correct response to anti-Semitism or any form of bigotry. And it’s wrong that Tamika Mallory, one of the four amazing women who organized the Women’s March, has still not denounced Farrakhan’s hateful anti-Semitic words after attending his speech in February and, like Trump, being publicly praised by the Nation of Islam leader. The left must be lightyears better than the right when it comes to making it clear there’s zero tolerance for bigotry.
Just look at how the right is responding to Farrakhan celebrating Trump. We aren’t seeing a chorus of condemnation. In fact, we are seeing worse than silence as two visible conservatives actually praised Farrakhan for his words of support for Trump. Candace Owens, the spokesperson for the very pro-Trump organization “Turning Point USA” and frequent Fox News guest, took to Twitter to praise the significance of Farrakhan’s words: “In no way do I endorse Farrakhan’s views but holy crap this is a really big deal. He has just aligned himself with Trump’s administration. What is going on in the black community right now is unprecedented. Flag this. It’s relevant.”
And then recent Trump convert Glenn Beck praised Owens’ assessment that Farrakhan’s praise of Trump is “huge.” But not a peep from either Beck or Owens about Farrakhan’s documented history of anti-Semitism.
While over on Trump loving Breitbart, the headline declared “Louis Farrakhan on Trump: ‘He Is Destroying Our Enemies,” where they highlighted his support of Trump. Only in the very last paragraph of that article was Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism even mentioned--and then in passing at best.
Calling out the right for a double standard is a fool’s errand. They truly have no shame in their hypocrisy. But we must do it so that we don’t normalize the bigotry and hatred that Trump and some of his supporters are spewing. Simply put: If we remain silent, the voices of hate – be they Trump, Farrakhan, Duke or others—win.