Hillary Clinton is understandably facing criticism for saying that half of Donald Trump’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables” for their bigoted or sexist views.
But it is a bit rich to hear the harsh condemnations coming from the Trump campaign, which is no stranger to smearing ordinary Americans it disagrees with.
Clinton on Saturday said she regrets suggesting “half” of Trump’s supporters are motivated by prejudice, but not calling out the phenomenon altogether. She also shot back at Trump’s suggestion that he respects voters who disagree with him.
Clinton is right. Trump may not yet have explicitly cast aspersions on the integrity of her supporters. But in leading the most successful campaign of race-driven demagoguery in modern American history, Trump has done far more to delegitimize the views and backgrounds of other Americans than Clinton has.
Claiming Hillary Clinton Is A Mentally Ill Criminal
The GOP nominee has such a long history of insensitive remarks, it is hard to know where to begin.
Even when speaking strictly about delegitimizing Clinton’s candidacy, there is ample material.
Trump has routinely said that Clinton should “go to jail” for her use of a private email server, despite the FBI’s conclusion that pressing charges against the former secretary of state would be inconsistent with ordinary prosecutorial standards. At first Trump chose not to indulge the crowds at his rallies who chanted “lock her up” in July, but he subsequently reconsidered, telling an audience in late July, “I’m starting to agree with you.”
At times, Trump has said more through his silence. The GOP nominee refused to condemn campaign surrogate and New Hampshire State Rep. Al Baldasaro for arguing that Clinton should be shot for treason.
(Of course, Trump might also consider Clinton guilty of murder. Back in May, he tried to revive the long-debunked early ‘90s conspiracy theory that Hillary and Bill Clinton were involved in the murder of Vince Foster, a former aide who committed suicide.)
More recently, Trump has taken to calling Clinton’s health into question without any evidence. At a rally in Florida on Friday, the real estate mogul dubbed Clinton “unstable,” an apparent jab at her mental health.
Trump campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani has, for his part, spread the rumor that Clinton suffers from an unknown “illness,” citing discredited internet videos.
What exactly does Trump think of the plurality of Americans who say they plan to vote for a person he considers a mentally ill criminal?
Delegitimizing Obama’s Presidency
It’s worth asking what he thinks of the more than 66 million Americans who voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
In 2011, Trump became the highest-profile member of the racist “birther” movement, questioning whether Obama was born in the United States with a public campaign to investigate the president’s origins.
The release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate was not enough to quiet these doubts, apparently. Trump still refuses to explicitly admit that Obama was born in the U.S., telling NBC on Monday, “I don’t talk about it.”
If Trump continues to believe Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen, it would follow that he believes those who voted for Obama participated in an unconstitutional endeavor.
Demeaning Minority Groups
Finally, Trump has spoken ill of, or threatened, just about every minority group in the country. (Consult our comprehensive list of his racist comments and actions here.)
The federal government found that Trump Management ― the real estate company owned by Donald’s father, where Donald started his career ― refused to rent to black people.
Trump began his presidential campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers.
In the wake of a terrorist attack, he proposed a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
He claimed an American-born judge of Mexican descent could not rule fairly on a case involving him ― and then said the same of Muslim judges.
His campaign has even prompted a coming-out party for the once-fringe white nationalist movement known as the “alt-right.” Trump retweets movement members and uses their memes even if he is occasionally forced to distance himself from them.
In addition to the communities of color Trump has openly slighted, the alt-right also hates Jews. Alt-right internet trolls have launched an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic invective at Jewish journalists who cover Trump critically.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
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