Donald Trump came under widespread criticism this week for a series of tweets decried as racist, but one veteran journalist thinks the racist attack was no accident, but instead part of a concerted strategy to win re-election in 2020.
Trump came under fire for the tweets telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their "original" countries. Three of the four were born in the United States, while a fourth, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, is a naturalized citizen. Trump then refused to back down from the statement and stoked even more controversy when he laid into Omar at a campaign rally in North Carolina, prompting his supporters to chant "Send her back!"
Lucian K. Truscott IV, a political journalist with more than 50 years of experience, said he believes the attack was part of a strategy for the 2020 presidential election to appeal to his core of supporters by using overt racism. In a piece for Salon, he wrote that Trump is writing off wide swaths of the American electorate to speak only to his core base of voters, who are older, white, and reside mainly outside of cities.
In doing so, Trump is borrowing directly from the playbook of some of America's most notorious segregationists, Truscott wrote.
"Trump's bet on racism in his campaign in the 2020 election is stunning when you think about it. His tweets and follow-up comments to the press, and his whipping the crowd into a racist frenzy at the North Carolina rally on Wednesday were drenched in the slime of white supremacist hate speech. Telling the four Democratic members of Congress to 'go back' to the countries 'from which they came' is like quoting from the racist playbook of Bull Connor and Orval Faubus and George Wallace."Donald Trump did try to walk back some of the sharper attacks on Omar from his campaign rally this week, saying he did not agree with the crowd chanting "Send her back!" and claiming that he tried to cut off the chant by speaking quickly to stop them. But video from the event showed that Trump paused as the chant started, then only continued talking again when they had quieted down. As the Independent noted, one day later, Trump appeared to change his tune, calling the rallygoers "incredible patriots." The statements by Donald Trump were seized on by his potential 2020 Democratic opponents and also by former First Lady Michelle Obama, who said in a statement that it is America's diversity that makes it a great country.