Following a vicious campaign rally Wednesday night in which President Donald Trump and his supporters ratcheted up racist and xenophobic attacks on four Democratic women of color in Congress, the ominous tenor of the event was clearly on people’s minds.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary tweeted after Trump’s North Carolina rally that among its top-searched words were “racism,” “fascism,” “xenophobia” and “bigot.”
Trump rallied supporters to chant “send her back!” — referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia. The president’s fans embraced his vile remarks.
Omar, along with fellow congressional freshmen Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) — collectively known as “the Squad” — have long faced racist and sexist attacks, but the smears launched by Trump since Sunday have been a new low.
Searches on Merriam-Webster for “racism” increased by 1,200% from the usual levels, Meghan Lunghi, the director of marketing, said on Thursday. Searches jumped 350% for “socialism,” 200% for “concentration camp,” 550% for “xenophobia,” and 300% for “bigot,” she said.
Searches for “fascism” — which Lunghi said consistently ranks among the dictionary website’s top searched words — were up by 50%.
“Lookups to all of these words have been curving upward since Monday,” Lunghi told HuffPost in an email.
In June, the dictionary publisher said searches for the term “concentration camp” had spiked by 15,000% after Ocasio-Cortez argued that the inhumane conditions at the Trump administration’s detention facilities for undocumented immigrants amounted to “concentration camps.”
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the four representatives should “go back” to where they came from — a racist phrase routinely used to denigrate and otherize people of color.
He has since doubled down on his racist attacks, galvanizing his base ahead of the 2020 election.
This article has been updated to include comments from a Merriam-Webster representative.