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Former Washington Journalist
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“Lock her up!” no more.
At a Wednesday night rally in North Carolina, Donald Trump and his team have morphed their days-long racist battle with four non-white Democratic congresswomen into his new campaign cry, “Send her back!”
In doing so, it singles out the one member of the Democratic group not actually born in the United States, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Omar came to the United States as a Somali refugee as a child and has long been a naturalized citizen.
“Think about all the photographs of people when African American children were allowed to go to school with whites who stood on the sidewalk and spit towards them. And cursed them. And now look at the pictures,” said famed former CBS News journalist Dan Rather. “Those people who are still alive have to be ashamed of the photographs. I think the same thing will happen with the people shouting [at the Trump rally]. I think the cheer didn’t come up spontaneously. It has the earmarks.
“‘Lock her up’ sounds dated. What else do we have? We have to see clearly the president sees these four young congresswomen as his ticket to ride in 2020,” Rather added. “In his view, every time anybody on TV puts them up in front or does an interview with them, or in a newspaper. He thinks he wins.”
Despite Trump’s protestations to the contrary, what he is doing is re-normalizing racism, according to Zerlina Maxwell, host at SiriusXM Radio.
“I felt like this is where that originated and that sort of fervor and that racial resentment being openly what Donald Trump has done is normalize racism that has been true going back to birtherism, and he makes it okay again to be overtly racist in public without any fear that there will be any societal repercussions whatsoever,” Maxwell said. “And that is not something that I am willing to, you know, sit around and be silent about. And I don’t think anybody that feels that racism is an unacceptable and unpatriotic position to have and to express in public. They should not be silent in this moment either.”
Whether this open racism works in the short term, former White House adviser David Gergen predicts long-term suicide for the Republican Party.
“Listen, I think that this may work in a short term for Republicans but if you look at the long term, it’s a much bleaker picture for the Republican Party,” said Gergen, an adviser to presidents of both parties. “All the millennials will be a massive force with women, people of color and new politics just five, 10, 15 years down the road.
“I think Republicans are in an active slow self-destruction in supporting the president as much as they do because in the long term, this could be suicidal,” he added.