By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire.com) — By his outrageous statements during the first presidential debate, we have now witnessed clear evidence that President Donald J. Trump is far more dangerous to this nation and its people than any of us really know.
We have seen hints of it over the past four years as he has repeatedly identified himself as one who gives comfort and friendship to people who would kill for the cause of race hatred and white supremacy. This was evident in his “very fine people on both sides” comment after the murder of Heather Heyer by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, VA.
And in his siding with hypocrites who wrap themselves in Confederate flags and bow down to Confederate statues while claiming to be patriots of the United States of America.
But the treachery of this presidency is now fully exposed by Trump’s response to a question from debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News on Sept. 29. When Wallace asked him if he would agree to “condemn white supremacists and militia groups…And to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence,” the president blatantly refused to issue that condemnation.
Seconds after saying, “sure,” he lapsed into the most revealing moment of his presidency concerning White supremacy and race hatred. After blaming “the left” for almost all of the violence, Trump shocked the nation by saying, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by…Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.”
This reaction by Trump has not only ignited the world of race haters and White supremacists who applauded his statements with social media memes. But, by commanding them to “stand back and stand by,” he has all but militarized and become commander-in-chief of the nation’s violent hate mongers. In doing so, he has unleashed permission for gun-toting, Confederate flag waving, hate mongering men and women of all ages to take action at a whim – and expect cover.
One need only do a quick search to find that the “Proud Boys” is considered a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a foremost authority on race hate in America.
Describing the group, the SPLC has written: “Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.”
Heightening the danger, President Trump’s staff appears to do little to educate him or stop him from his reckless conduct – even if they wanted to. Though he may see his conduct as entertaining, expedient – even necessary – to win an election; it is tearing the already tattered fabric of America to bits. This appears to be his intention.
This first presidential debate touched on police violence against citizens, Trump’s lie that mail-in ballots cause voter fraud; the criminal justice system and the deadly coronavirus, among other issues that disparately impact Black people. But nothing stood out more during the rancorous exchange than the president’s – in essence – militarizing and directing White supremacists. In his desperation and recklessness, who knows what else he may say or do? This makes him more dangerous than we even know.