So it has come to this.
In a desperate bid to stop Donald Trump, 2012 nominee Mitt Romney — who gave a pass to the inherent racism of the Democratic Party in his own race for president and specifically refused to attack a black version of the bigoted and anti-Semitic David Duke — has now played the race card against… Donald Trump.
Disgraceful. Somewhere George Romney — who marched with Martin Luther King as Governor of Michigan in the 1960s — is rolling over in his grave.
Let’s start here with this August 26, 2015 story in Politico. The headline:
Trump: I don’t want David Duke’s endorsement
The story begins this way:
Donald Trump says he isn’t interested in the endorsement of David Duke, the anti-Semitic former Ku Klux Klan leader who praised the GOP presidential hopeful earlier this week on his radio show.
“I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement,” Trump said during an interview with Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. He added: “I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.”
Asked whether he would repudiate the endorsement, Trump said “Sure, I would if that would make you feel better.”
Trump repeated a version of this in his press conference with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last week, on February 26th. As reported with this headline from the Hill:
Trump brushes off David Duke support
That report said this:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Friday disavowed a former Ku Klux Klan leader’s support.
“I didn’t even know he endorsed me,” Trump said while unveiling an endorsement from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, when asked about former KKK grand wizard David Duke’s support.
“David Duke endorsed me? OK, alright. I disavow, OK?” Trump said, seeking to quickly move on to another question.
He tweeted it out yet again after he apparently had an earpiece problem in his Jake Tapper interview. Saying this:
“As I stated at the press conference on Friday regarding David Duke — I disavow.”
He even said it years ago in an op-ed in the New York Times, specifically February 19, 2000, when he flirted with a run for president as the Reform Party candidate. His article was titled:
What I Saw at the Revolution
In part, Trump said this:
Although I am totally comfortable with the people in the New York Independence Party, I leave the Reform Party to David Duke, Pat Buchanan and Lenora Fulani. That is not company I wish to keep.
So. On four different occasions at a minimum, Trump has disavowed David Duke. He could not possibly be plainer. And let’s be clear. News flash for some. Yes, the Ku Klux Klan is a leftist hate group. According to Columbia University historian Eric Foner, the Klan has been “a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party.” University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease’s description of the Klan is as the “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party.”
Meanwhile, over at Media Matters, the Klan’s defenders lashed out at yours truly by serving as Klan deniers. Wow. And Raw Story? Over there these guys are totally ignorant of basic American History 101. They are shocked. Shocked! Stunned to discover that, yes, the Democratic Party was founded on the rawest principle of slavery and that the Democratic Party — according to two prominent historians — used the Ku Klux Klan as a “military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party” and as the “terrorist arm of the Democratic party.” Media Matters will defend the Klan and serve as a Klan denier, and Raw Story will be the history denier. You can’t make this stuff up.
But what’s Mitt Romney’s excuse?
Recall the hard-core racism of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Barack Obama’s decidedly racist mentor. Where was Mitt Romney when it came to taking a stand against this out and out racist?
See this New York Times headline:
Romney Condemns Ad Proposal Using Reverend Wright
Yes, you read that correctly. When it came to the moment to go after a seriously big time racist and hard core anti-Semite, a black David Duke who like David Duke was also viscerally anti-Semitic? Here’s what that Times story said:
Mitt Romney on Thursday condemned plans by Republican strategists and a billionaire investor to run a $10-million advertising campaign linking President Obama to the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, his incendiary former pastor.
“I repudiate that effort,” Mr. Romney told reporters at an impromptu news conference Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla. “I think it’s the wrong course for a PAC or a campaign.”
…Asked about the report in the morning, Mr. Romney declined to comment, saying he had not read the newspapers. Later, his campaign issued a statement repudiating the plan. Aides later scurried to provide Mr. Romney an opportunity on camera to distance himself from the plan.
Yes. You read that right. Presented with the opportunity to go after a genuine David Duke-style racist and anti-Semite — Mitt Romney balked. Quite specifically he said, “I repudiate that effort.”
Wonderful, yes? The soon-to-be 2012 nominee of the Republican Party — the Party of Lincoln for heaven’s sake — refuses flat out to go after a David Duke twin who has spent a career Duke-style spewing racial and religious hatred.
But this time around? There is Romney trying to actually lie flat out about Trump support for David Duke.
Let’s get real here. Among other things, just like Jeremiah Wright, David Duke is an anti-Semite.
Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s daughter, converted to Judaism and is married to the Jewish Jared Kushner. Which makes Donald Trump’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren Jewish. And Mitt Romney is trying to portray Donald Trump as an anti-Semite by association? Seriously?
What an utter disgrace.
Let’s get down to it. The Republican Establishment stands long accused of aping Democrats, of being Democrats-lite. Usually the reason attributed is the reflexive GOP bid to adopt Democratic economic or social issues but just managing them better. This time? This time it utterly astonishes that Mitt Romney — the son of a man who walked with Martin Luther King — would not only refuse to take a stand against the raw David Duke-style racism and anti-Semitism of Jeremiah Wright…but then try and paint Donald Trump — Trump the man who has repeatedly denounced David Duke — as some sort of bigot and anti-Semite himself.
Wow. What a smear. From a man who shrank from the chance to call out a David Duke-style racist when he had the chance.
Does that make Mitt Romney a bigot? No.
It makes him a man who decidedly should never have been President of the United States. Once upon a time another Massachusetts man was President. In June of 1963, he, like Mitt Romney with Jeremiah Wright, had the opportunity to confront hard-core racism straight out. Among other things, John F. Kennedy looked the nation in the eye with an Oval Office address on the actions of racists — Democrats by the way — in Birmingham, Alabama. Said JFK:“….race has no place in American life or law. “
Note as well that President Kennedy said “those who do nothing are inviting shame…” In 2012, when Mitt Romney had the chance to stand up to a bigot and an anti-Semitic racist, Romney did nothing. He flinched and ran.
Now, suddenly, burned by Trump’s brutally honest assessment that Romney “choked” in 2012, suddenly Romney tries to paint Trump — who has repeatedly disavowed Duke as Romney refused to attack Jeremiah Wright — as a bigot.
In fact? In fact John F. Kennedy was right. Those who do nothing about bigotry do invite shame. Mitt Romney did nothing — and now, out of petty political vindictiveness, he tries to portray himself as taking a stand when in fact he could not bring himself to attack the David Duke of his own day.
Shameful. Shameful indeed.