Clay Aiken defended Trump in 2016, saying that he didn’t believe Trump was a fascist or a racist. Now that he’s withdrawn that defense, Aiken is having to clarify as social media users lash out. He’s being called on to convince his fellow Trump supporters that they, too, were wrong. There’s just one problem with that: Aiken was never a supporter, and in fact ran for political office himself, in his home state of North Carolina, as a Democrat.
Now Aiken is engaged in a back-and-forth with a stream of Twitter users, defending himself this time, assuring the public that he is a Democrat, who never voted for Trump and encouraged others to support Hillary Clinton. He says he criticized Trump thoroughly throughout the 2016 Presidential campaign, and that calling allegations of racism unfounded didn’t negate any of the things he did criticize the then-candidate for.
In a March 2016 clip, Fox Business presented Clay Aiken, saying that he didn’t believe the Republican candidate was racist. However, that’s not all he said.
“I don’t think he’s a fascist. I don’t think he’s a racist. I think he’s a Democrat.”
Aiken goes on, in the short clip, to explain, “I believe he’s this way, he speaks another way,” and to say that he feels this makes Trump as President a concern, because, “I don’t know what he’ll be when he’s President, you don’t know what he’ll be when he’s President.”
After Trump’s multiple press conferences addressing the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, Aiken seems to have changed his mind. On Tuesday, Aiken tweeted, saying that all the times he had defended Trump and denied that the man was a racist, he had been wrong. He hashtagged an apology on the end of the tweet.
Responses began to roll in, with likes, retweets, and replies totaling around 200 thousand in less than 18 hours. Many of those were angry or otherwise critical.
While I'm infuriated by ppl like you, Caitlin Jenner & Susan Sarandon for supporting this nut, I appreciate the admission. Now help Resist!— Gnomester210 (@noem210) August 16, 2017
Did you vote for him?— Jay Nesbitt (@jkaseman59) August 16, 2017
How do you apologize for that?
Others, many too explicit to share here, called Aiken a variety of names and told him that he is responsible for America’s current problems.
There were also tweets forgiving the singer/politician, and calling him to action.
When we know better, we do better.— CatherineNacolMcCoin (@catherinemccoin) August 16, 2017
good of you to admit it. Maybe you can also publicly change parties to show other Republicans the way? Mass exodus needed now.— Agent of Progress (@laperreault) August 16, 2017
Clay jumped in full force himself, though, responding individually to many of the tweets. Specifically, he clarified that he had always considered Trump “a dumpster fire,” an “idiot,” and “a disaster,” that he didn’t vote for Trump as President, and that he is a Democrat who always supported and encouraged others to support Hillary Clinton.
Calm the hell down. I didn't vote for the fool. And I spoke out loudly against him.— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) August 16, 2017
???? My party is the Democrats. I didn't vote for the idiot. Never ever implied that I did or would. Was VERY vocal about not voting for him. https://t.co/JjRg1e4weX— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) August 16, 2017
Honey!! I ABSOLUTELY did NOT vote for him. I knew he was a disaster. I just know him personally and didn't want to believe he was racist. ????— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) August 16, 2017
It’s not Aiken’s first time saying he was wrong about Trump, either. In a March editorial for Huffington Post, Aiken said he was sorry for ever suggesting Trump was a good person and indicated that Trump as President does not resemble, in his opinion, the Trump he knew backstage on reality TV.
“I’m apologizing to anyone who may have heard me over the past few months imply that you are an inherently good person. You are not. You are an awful, egomaniacal, attention-seeking fool.
“I wish I could remember the gracious person I met while doing Celebrity Apprentice.
“Unfortunately, the blabber and idiocy that has dribbled from your mouth over the last eight months has completely wiped any positive memory away.”
Aiken’s own 2014 bid to represent North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District ended in a loss to the incumbent Renee Ellmers, but he told Time Magazine in 2015 that he believes he will run again at some point in the future.
Trump-Aiken 2016 ????— Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) June 16, 2015
However, despite a tweet from June 2015, that suggested, punctuated with a winking, tongue-poking smiley, that he might do so as Donald Trump’s running mate, Clay Aiken seems very clear about his current position on POTUS’s politics and personality.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]