After a deadly 24 hours in El Paso and Dayton, the Democratic candidates for president offered what Trump, golfing at Bedminster, failed at. Acting like leaders. Beto O’Rourke rushed back to El Paso, his hometown, and as soon as the racist motivation behind the attack was clear, put responsibility squarely where it belongs.
Did he think that Trump is a white nationalist, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked him. O’Rourke answered, “Yes, I do.” He went on, “Let’s be very clear about what is causing this and who the president is. He is an open, avowed racist and is encouraging more racism in this country—and this is incredibly dangerous for the United States of America right now.” He got that question one too many times, apparently, and then called out the media for asking such a stupid, obvious question. “[M]embers of the press, what the fuck? […] [I]t’s these questions that you know the answer to. I mean, connect the dots about what he’s been doing in this country.” Beto said what we all wanted to.
Other candidates called out Trump’s racism and inciting of violence. Elizabeth Warren tweeted, “We need to call out white nationalism for what it is—domestic terrorism. It is a threat to the United States, and we’ve seen its devastating toll this weekend. And we need to call out the president himself for advancing racism and white supremacy.” She added later, “I just talked to Kasie Hunt about how white nationalism is domestic terrorism. And as Donald Trump has made one ugly statement after another, we’ve seen it on the rise. White nationalists embrace him, and the Republicans enable him. Enough.”
Kamala Harris tweeted, “Trump has emboldened white nationalism across our country. He needs to go.” She is using her platform to raise money for gun safety groups: “Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough — we need action. Split a contribution today between @GiffordsCourage, @bradybuzz, and @MomsDemand who are actively working to end this public health emergency,” she tweeted.
Cory Booker laid the blame at Trump’s feet. “I think at the end of the day, especially because this was the white supremacist manifesto… that Donald Trump is responsible for this. He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry,” he told Tapper. So did Julián Castro: “There is no question that this President is setting a tone of division and fanning the flames of bigotry and hate.” And Bernie Sanders, on whether he agreed Trump is a white nationalist: “I do. It gives me no pleasure to say this.” He tweeted Monday morning, “We have a president who actively demonizes racial and religious minorities, who coddles Nazis and Klansmen, and who wields white supremacy as a political weapon.”
Pete Buttigieg said Sunday, “This White House amplifies hate, and people who are in the grip of this hateful, extremist ideology feel validated from all the way at the top.” Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted, “White nationalist terrorism is a national emergency.” So did Tim Ryan: “White nationalism is the biggest domestic threat to the United States—it doesn’t belong in our country. We cannot ignore this any longer. We have to call it out like we see it.”
The problem is white nationalism, and the catalyst is Trump. Perhaps having every serious Democratic candidate for the White House banging that drum will force the traditional media to stop and think about how they approach their coverage of this White House.