Republicans largely remained silent after Donald Trump's racist attack on four congresswomen of colour. But privately, Greg Sargent writes, they're scared:
What is it about “send her back” that suddenly crossed a line? Consider the timeline:
Trump tweets that the lawmakers should “go back” to their countries, characterizing them as corrupt hellholes (echoing his “s----hole countries” comment), even though three were born here. That elicits only a bit of discomfort from Republicans.
Trump then says, “if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave.” Trump repeats this: "YOU CAN LEAVE!” Republicans defend this framing, piously pretending it has no racial dimension, even though it was directed at only minority lawmakers.
Trump presides over the “send her back” chant. After criticism erupts, including among some Republicans, Trump pretends to “disagree” with it.
Why did the last open the floodgates? The Times tells us Republicans fear telling lawmakers to get out will “backfire” because it appears “personal.” Yet Trump had repeatedly said to “go back” and “leave.”
What changed? Well, the Times also reports that Trump advisers privately warned against letting these sentiments get out of control at his rally.
So I submit to you that the key difference is twofold: Trump’s naked hatred and cruelty was captured on live television, and along with it, so was the seething anger of the hard-core Trump base.
Television exposed Trump's white hot hatred. And it exposed his supporters in all of their ugly ignorance. The whole thing looked disturbingly like a Nuremberg rally.
Republican silence speaks volumes about their own fear and cowardice. But, then, that fear and cowardice was on display long before now.
Image: The Washington Post