The GOP Civil War between establishment conservatives and the rabid, often racist base of Donald Trump devotees is in full effect and nowhere was that clearer this weekend than the Sunday political talk-show circuit. Coming off the heels of a violent eruption at thge candidate’s rally in Tuscon, a vocal demonstration outside of Trump Towers in New York City, and The Donald’s continued defense of his campaign manager’s manhandling of demonstrators, both factions of the Republican Party took to the airwaves Sunday.
During a roundtable debate on CNN’s “State of the Union“, Trump campaign senior advisor Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a poor attempt to downplay Trump’s increasingly violent rhetoric as she tried to blame the demonstrators for the recent increase in tension and physical altercations that now appear to be commonplace at Trump rallies:
“You know, I don’t think that there’s anything in Donald Trump’s rhetoric that is inviting or inciting violence. I want to know sometimes where the outcry is when Barack Obama was saying, “the GOP is putting a gun to the Americans’ heads” and things like that. There was no outcry over that language. Donald Trump isn’t saying, ‘let’s start a riot’ or ‘let’s create violence.’
I think that we’re, you know, putting all the blame on Donald Trump, and not putting any of it on the protesters themselves. And I think that’s a big problem.”
Democrats And GOP Establishment Blame Trump
Longtime Democratic strategist Dick Harpootlian countered the argument that the demonstrators were the aggressors, noting that the businessman-turned-candidate has long been sending coded messages to people with less than desirable ideologies:
This is what we call in the South, we grew up with this, dog-whistle politics. That is their constituency hears it, the racist, the sexist, the xenophobic, blaming other people, whether they’re brown-skinned Mexicans or brown-skinned Muslims, people that aren’t like us. And that’s what’s going on here.
Conservative columnist S.E. Cupp — who holds a misguided notion that liberals are responsible for the rise of a racist, xenophobic bigot — disagreed with Harpootlian. She actually felt that calling his remarks “dog-whistle politics” didn’t go far enough:
“I don’t think it’s a dog whistle, I think it’s a dog scream. I don’t think they’re trying to hide it at all. And I firmly believe Donald Trump is responsible for setting the tone at his rallies. But even if you think Donald Trump isn’t totally to blame or there’s blame to go around, I think it’s inarguable that Donald Trump is an incredibly divisive person.”
After a disingenuous attempt to blame President Obama for being “condescending”, Cupp went on to label the GOP frontrunner a laughingstock:
“I think Trump is meeting that anger with more anger. And I don’t really think that that’s creating an environment to elect a leader to bring the country together. He talks about unifying. I think that’s a joke.”
One thing that isn’t a joke: finding yourself in agreement with someone like S.E. Cupp. To quote the immortal John Lennon, “Strange days indeed“.