A CNN commentator said Wednesday that if a tape of President Donald Trump using the N-word surfaced, it might increase support among his supporters.
“I think that if you found the tape of him using the N-word, it might actually increase his support among the people who support him. This does nothing to them. They are so baked in. They believe wholeheartedly in this approach that he is taking, and none of these insults to people who look like me hurt them, because it is not them,” Charles Blow, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, told CNN’s “New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.”
Berman pointed to a Quinnipiac poll that said more Americans than not believe Trump is a racist.
“Right, and they have a reason to believe that,” Blow said. “I think that when we keep questioning whether or not he’s a misogynist or a sexist or a racist as if it is not born out by the facts, we undermine the fact that in fact it is born out by the facts. This is a 70-year-old man who has given decades of interviews, said all manner of thing when he was not a politician, when he never thought that he was gonna be a politician.”
Blow said Trump supporters want the media to adhere to a “strange standard” where they “start over every week, every month, every year, every decade” when it comes to the president.
“All those things that he said before don’t matter. We shouldn’t take those into account, even though he has never apologized for any of it. He has never walked back from it. The only thing that he did try to walk, show some contrition about but was not doing it fully was the Access Hollywood tape, because he thought it was going to sink him, and then after the fact, he said I should not have done that, and maybe it’s not even me on the tape, which was a complete lie,” he said.
“But so when you see a person who has basically done this, and this is evidence of racism, sexism, misogyny, never apologized for it, never walked away from it. How do you then expect me, any other American who’s seen that to not take that into their calculation about his other behaviors and run everything he does through that filter,” Blow added.
Blow said not taking into account the things that Trump says that are racist, sexist, and misogynist is “a sign of insanity.”
“Not doing that is kind of a point, a sign of insanity. We would be insane if we weren’t doing that. We would be insane if kept questioning and saying this is a matter of opinion of whether he’s a racist or not. No, it’s not. That’s deductive reasoning. He is. He is, and people have basically cooked that into the books.
I think that if you found the tape of him using the N-word, it might actually increase his support among the people who support him. This does nothing to them. They are so baked in. They believe wholeheartedly in this approach that he is taking, and none of these insults to people who look like me hurt them, because it is not them.
And there’s not a betrayal of their belief in him. It is not a betrayal of what they want him to do. This is exactly what they want him to do. If you’re still supporting him after Charlottesville, if you’re still supporting him after what he said about Haiti and African countries, if you’re still supporting him after what he said about Mexicans, if you’re still supporting him after he said that Islam hates us, then this is what you want from him. I don’t know what else we’re supposed to say. This is not a debate. This is who he is. This is what they accepted. This is what they want.”
“You think that his support. Again, it’s at 42 percent, all 42 percent are supporting him because of this rather than in spite of it?” Berman asked.
“Does it matter? That’s the question,” Blow said, and he accused Trump supporter of being complicit in racism.
“If you can turn a blind eye, you don’t have skin in that game, literally. Right? Your skin doesn’t look like that. Then that means that you’re part of it. You’re complicit in it. It doesn’t mean you have to wake up every morning actively hating someone. Animus is not required for someone to be a racist or a white supremacist. It is not, and that is a big fallacy about it.
People think you have to hate in order to arrange people in a hierarchy. No, you don’t. You can just simply believe that that is true. You can simply believe that racism and white supremacy produce better outcomes for every one, that black and brown people would be better off too if white people are just in charge.
If you just follow this man what he wants to do, you’ll be better off for this. People think like that. That 42 percent has turned a blind to what he’s doing or they’re actively cheering it, if you look at some of those rallies, what he’s doing. They’re part of it. There’s no separation for me between the person who has the racist philosophy and the person who supports the person with the racist philosophy.”
CNN’s female guest host pointed out that “Even if the numbers say that more Americans believe he is a racist than do not, it does not mean that every person who supports him is a racist.”
Blow compared Trump supporters with Germans “who stayed silent” while Jews were slaughtered by Adolf Hitler and Americans who were silent during slavery when the next plantation over had slaves.
“Not all the Germans who stayed silent while they dragged people into gas chambers hated the Jews, but you were silent and then you let it happen. Not everybody in America owned slaves, but too many of them were silent, and the next plantation over had them, and then next house over had them, and they didn’t say a word. You can’t live in a society like-- there is no middle ground. You have to take a stand. When there is hatred in the world, you have to take a stand.
When people are not giving people everybody a fair chance, you have to take a stand. If you say, it’s not about me, I don’t believe that, and therefore, I can just take the policy without the poison, then you are telling yourself a lie in order to get something without giving anything. Life is about-- you have that option in life. You give something.
You stand for something or you stand for nothing, and that is the option, and these people are choosing-- if you’re thinking you’re standing for nothing and you’re saying I don’t agree with that, but I agree with the policies and I want the Supreme Court justice, and I want what Jeff Sessions is doing on criminal justice, and I want what Ben Carson is doing on -- then you don’t want it that way. That is not an option for you. That is not what’s going to happen in society. You are giving-- in your silence, you are complicit, and you are silently acquiescing to a hatred, and that is part of your legacy in America.”