In a Tuesday piece for CNN, journalist Daniel Dale argued that President Donald Trump supported “cancel culture” in the years before his current opposition to the practice. Dale noted Trump’s Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore and his claim that the political left is using “cancel culture” as a political weapon against those who disagree with them.
“Trump has long railed against ‘political correctness,'” Dale wrote. “But he has also tried for years to get people and entities punished or banished for what he considers objectionable words and acts. Trump has explicitly advocated cancellations, boycotts and firings on numerous occasions — often simply because he doesn’t like something his target has said.”
Dale proceeded to list the many times Trump engaged in the practice, beginning in August 2012 through May 2020. In one instance, Trump called for Black journalist Touré to resign from his MSNBC position after he said a variant of the N-word during an argument with then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. On another occasion, Trump called for Americans to cancel their HBO subscriptions until they fire Bill Maher, who he called a “low life dummy.” More recently, Trump called for NBC host Chuck Todd to be fired for a misleading clip of Attorney General William Barr and tagged the Federal Communications Commission on Twitter.
As reported by Fox News, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway recently took aim at “cancel culture” and echoed Trump. She claimed that proponents of “cancel culture” are attempting to “shame” people out of employment and silence contrary opinions.
During his Fourth of July speech, Trump said that the practice is being used by the “radical left” to destroy American history, referring to the recent movement to remove Confederate symbols and statutes.
“We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children.”
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, previously criticized the practice after her Wichita State University commencement speech was canceled following student outcry. According to Ivanka, the practice runs contrary to the freedom of speech principles that should be supported by academia.
Many prominent figures have called for an end to “cancel culture.” In a letter published in Harper’s Magazine on Tuesday, over 100 writers and scholars called for an end to the practice. Notably, J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie, and Malcolm Gladwell were among the people who signed the letter.
“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” the letter read.