A former federal prosecutor under the administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan is questioning why the Republican Party is acting hypocritical, in his view, in admonishing Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) but not current President Donald Trump.
King was stripped of his committee assignments in the House of Representatives following an interview with the New York Times, in which he made controversial remarks, including lamenting that the term “white supremacist” was itself offensive, according to reporting from CNN. Republicans joined Democratic colleagues in condemning King’s comments.
In an op-ed appearing in the Hill Thursday morning, former federal prosecutor Gregory Wallance suggested that those condemnations didn’t go far enough, and should be directed toward Trump as well.
“Make no mistake, King, who has a long history of white supremacist comments, deserves to be punished — and should have been long ago,” Wallance wrote in his opinion piece. “But even finally punishing King may not protect Republicans from the taint of Trump’s messaging.”
Trump’s stature as president, after all, is grander than King’s, who is a representative in Congress, Wallance said. As such, the former prosecutor stated, it was hypocritical for the GOP to call out King while at the same time ignoring the historic record of controversial statements Trump has made in the past.
Wallance pointed out that Trump’s behavior isn’t limited to his past, either. The president, as recently as this month, retweeted a column by conservative columnist Pat Buchanan that had racist overtones within it.
“[T]he smaller the share of the U.S. population that white men become, the sooner that Democrats inherit the national estate,” Buchanan wrote in the column Trump retweeted, Wallance noted.
Wallance took Trump to task for sharing the article.
“Is there really a difference between King’s defense of white supremacy and Trump tweeting to his tens of millions of followers a column mourning its loss?” he asked.
Wallance pointed out myriad other examples that he said pointed to Trump’s seeming endorsement of white supremacy and other bigoted ideologies.
The president, he noted, retweeted an account with the name @WhiteGenocideTM during the 2016 campaign, said some of the violent white nationalists at a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, were “fine people,” and still uses racist messaging in his attacks against Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Trump began his political career by promoting the false beliefs that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in America, Wallance said.
“Trump has failed to even condemn King, stating ‘I really haven’t been following'” the story, Wallance added.
Wallance concluded his article by suggesting Trump’s messaging is a “grotesque departure from the conduct of any president in living memory.”
The former prosecutor’s comments also seemed to suggest that Republicans ought to consider reprimanding the president as well.
“The sacrifice of one congressional scapegoat will be insufficient to cleanse the president’s taint from the Republican Party,” Wallance ended his op-ed with.