The Trial Lawyer Fall 2017 - Page 66

him a Nazi sympathizer. But he still had his white nationalist allies in the White House to keep him company. While many people throughout this country were shocked by Donald Trump’s initial refusal to condemn white supremacy and then his decision to double down on the “both sides are to blame” rhetoric, it was actually one of the most predictable things that we have seen from Trump since he became president. Donald Trump’s entire political career has been based around the idea of hate. Hatred of immigrants, hatred of Muslims, hatred of the black president who served before Trump was elected. Hate was the main theme that the Trump campaign played, and it served him well. He received endorsements — that he later denounced — from racist organizations and people like David Duke. He became the king of dog whistle politics, except that he was far more overt than any modern politician about his decision to use racism and bigotry to win the White House. And again, he may have declined the endorsement of those white nationalist organizations, but he never lost their support, and his electoral victory only served to embolden these groups and give them a sense of power 64 x The Trial Lawyer that they hadn’t felt in the last century. It was that renewed sense of vigor that led to the death and devastation in Charlottesville. Trump’s harmful and hateful rhetoric was not the only contributing factor to the zeal that right wing hate groups are now feeling. The appointment of people like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka by Donald Trump has allowed people who embrace hate — people who have profited off of hate and division — to be elevated to positions of power within the administration itself. Again, this was entirely predictable. In February of 2017, I interviewed author and Salon.com contributor Chauncey DeVega about the cabal of right wing extremists and hate peddlers that Trump had put into office. Here is an excerpt from that interview that helps to put these names into perspective: Farron Cousins: As we’re beginning to find out, people like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller are actually helping to draft these executive orders that Donald Trump is just signing left and right. Miller himself has said that he’s helped. There’s plenty of people that have come forward and said that Bannon is helping to draft these, and as Donald Trump himself has kind of admitted, he’s not really reading them. He’s just signing it off. That’s why he didn’t know he’d put Bannon on the National Security Council. I mean, that’s how dangerous it is when you literally have these white supremacists drafting policy, putting it in front of a president who doesn’t read, and just signing it off into law. I mean, that is what’s happening in 2017 in the United States, and that is absolutely terrifying. I mean, that’s about the only word I can use to describe what’s happening, it’s simply terrifying. Chauncey DeVega: Again, the mainstream corporate news media has dropped the ball as they always do on this. If you just look at the profiles of some of these folks, of course you have Jeff Sessions, who is not necessarily a devotee of the Klan, but famously joked, ‘Oh, I was in support of the Klan until I learned they smoked marijuana,’ a man who’s used racial slurs to describe African American attorneys, a man