By Lauren Victoria Burke
A week that started with President Donald Trump announcing that he is “a nationalist,” to the delight of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, ended with the arrest of a Trump supporter in Florida on charges of attempting to assassinate several of Trump’s political opponents.
That supporter, Cesar Sayoc, lived in a van decorated with a collage of images of Trump’s critics, including one of Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton in the crosshairs, attempted to murder two former Democratic presidents and other critics of Donald Trump by way of pipe bombs through the mail.
Trump made his self-defining statement on October 22 in Houston, saying, “They have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist. And I say, really, we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, OK? I’m a nationalist.”
The President’s statements also included warnings of “a caravan” of immigrants potentially entering the U.S. from Mexico. On October 29, it was reported that Trump increased a previously ordered deployment of 5,000 troops to the Mexican border to confront the migrant “caravan.”
On October 25, days after the President’s statements claiming he was a “nationalist,” Gregory Alan Bush, a 51-year old white male, was arrested after allegedly murdering two elderly African Americans at a Kroger supermarket in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. According to witnesses, Bush shot 69-year-old Maurice Stallard and 67-year-old Vickie Jones to death in a car park.
Before arriving at Kroger’s, Bush attempted to enter a nearby predominantly African American church, The First Baptist Church in Jeffersontown, police confirmed. Steve Zinninger, the son of a man who confronted Bush with a firearm after he allegedly murdered Stalled and Jones, told reporters that Bush responded to his father by saying “whites don’t kill whites,” when confronted.
A day later on October 26, Trump supporter, Cesar Sayoc, was arrested after the FBI discovered a fingerprint on a pipe bomb Sayoc allegedly mailed to Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Five of Sayoc’s targets were African American.
On October 29, the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history occurred at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa. According to witnesses, Robert Bowers murdered 11 Jewish congregants at the synagogue using an AR-15 and carrying several hand guns. An analysis of his social media revealed that Bowers was angry about the recently repeated false claims of a mass “caravan” of immigrants from Mexico into the U.S.
The “caravan” of immigrants has been a popular talking point repeated by President Trump and other Republicans and by several commentators on Fox News. On June 16, 2015, as Trump delivered a speech announcing his run for the presidency in which he said he would build a wall on the Mexico–United States border and defined Mexican immigrants as "criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”
President Trump’s third executive order, Executive Order 13767, titled, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” is an executive order issued by United States President Donald Trump on January 25, 2017. The order directs a wall to be built along the Mexico–United States border.
Trump’s fifth executive order would become known as the “Muslim ban.” Executive Order 13769, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” was challenged in court and its original version weakened.
“It’s not a dog whistle. It is an air raid siren,” said Republican strategist Rick Wilson during an October 29 TV interview. Wilson is author of the book “Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever.”
“His unique social media power makes him incredibly dangerous for the country,” Wilson added.
“There is no dog whistle this is a fog horn,” said MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, echoing Wilson. Scarborough is a former Republican Congressman from Florida.
“I have never seen anything like this President at any time in my lifetime,” said Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama on October 28. “We are in a very dangerous situation,” he added. The Southern Policy Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have reported that there is a major increase in hate crimes since Trump took office.
After a torch carrying mob of mostly white males with some women marched onto the campus of the University of Virginia in August 2017, followed by a violent street confrontation and a murder, Trump failed to clearly denounce white supremacy and its link to violence,
Saying there are, “some very fine people on both sides,” on August 15, 2017, just days after violent images of the Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va., broadcast around the world was the last time many remained indecisive on Trump’s true values. But with only a week to go to Election Day, the true test of how many remain indecisive will be answered by the choices of the American electorate.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and communications strategist.
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