No, CNN: Nationalism Is Not White Supremacy - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
No, CNN: Nationalism Is Not White Supremacy

There they go again.

In response to President Trump’s saying that he is a “nationalist” — CNN freaked out.

Here’s the headline at Mediaite:

Don Lemon Stunned After Trump Called Himself a ‘Nationalist’: It’s ‘Loaded’ with Racial Undertones

The article says in part, this:

“Wow,” Lemon reacted after a moment of laughter. “We’re gonna talk about that word tonight. It is a favorite of the alt-right and is loaded with nativist and racial undertones. And globalist. Well, globalist has been used as a slur of sorts, sometimes even against those in the administration, often with anti-Semitic overtones. Which just happened to make the president come right out and embrace nationalism. Openly. And claim that mantle. What has happened here?”

Then there was this, also from Mediaite:

CNN Panel Gets Heated Over Trump’s ‘Nationalist’ Remark: ‘Nobody Made You CEO of the English Language’

This story, described a back and forth between CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Trump supporter Steve Cortes. (And by the way, Cortes, himself a Hispanic, served on Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council.) In a previous segment of his show, Mediaite said Cuomo had talked about the “historical and cultural connotations” of the word. Then the story says this:

Cortes jumped in to say it’s “incredibly mistaken” to compare American nationalism to Nazism, saying that the former “is about shared ideals, it’s about a constitution.”

“That’s not nationalism,” Cuomo responded.

“Yes it is,” Cortes said. “By the way, you don’t get, Chris, to just decide — nobody made you CEO of the English language.”

“You know better than George Orwell?” Cuomo retorted. “Do you know better than George Orwell? Do you know who that is?”

“Yes, I do,” Cortes said.

(In the previous segment, Cuomo had brought up Orwell’s writing on the subject of nationalism and why it’s not the same as patriotism.)

Cortes argued the reason Trump said he’s told not to say it is because American pride is looked down on by the “elites.” Cuomo laughed at the idea that he was implicitly being labeled an “elitist who doesn’t like the idea of caring about your country.”

Next day the President expanded on exactly what he meant when he used the term nationalism. The Washington Times headlined the story this way:

Trump defends describing self as ‘nationalist,’ says it’s about American pride, prosperity

The president said this as the story reported:

“I’m somebody that loves our country, when I say I’m a nationalist,” Mr. Trump said at his desk in the Oval Office. “I’m proud of our country.”

And then there was CNN’s Jim Acosta, saying this as reported in the Washington Times:

When Mr. Trump met with reporters at the White House on Tuesday, CNN reporter Jim Acosta confronted the president about his use of the word.

“There is a concern that you are sending coded language, or a dog whistle to some Americans out there, that what you really mean is you’re a white nationalist,” Mr. Acosta said.


One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. Laugh at the absurdity that the concept of “nationalism” has anything whatsoever to do with race. Or cry at the realization that yet again, as is true of the Left throughout American history, the obsession with race is something the liberal media cannot and will not leave in the ash heap of history where it belongs.

Let’s start with the Oxford Dictionary definition of “nationalism.” Which is:

A person who strongly identifies with their own nation and vigorously supports its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.

Bingo. There is no reference whatsoever of race for the obvious reason that nationalism has zero to do with race, much less white supremacy.

Memo to my CNN friends? Take a good look at this nationalist, per the World Atlas. His name? Mahatma Gandhi — the founding father of modern India and its independence from the British. Here’s what the Atlas says:

Mahatma Gandhi is perhaps the most widely recognized figure of the Indian Nationalist Movement for his role in leading non-violent civil uprisings.…

In 1921, he became the leader of the Indian National Congress, a nationalist political party in India, which demanded nondiscriminatory laws, equal rights for men and women, peaceful inter-religious relations, overthrow of the caste system, and above all, Indian independence. During his lifetime, Gandhi carried out three major nationalist movements.

In other words? In other words Gandhi, decidedly not a white guy, was a “nationalist” in the same fashion as Trump. Just as Trump correctly says his nationalism is about putting America first, Gandhi was about India first — an India run by Indians, not the British. Which, not coincidentally, is exactly what was at issue in 1776 — a move to get American independence by getting the British out of America. As it were, 1776 and the Founding fathers were all about American nationalism.

The late Civil War historian James A. Rawley wrote Abraham Lincoln and a Nation Worth Fighting Forin which Rawley describes Lincoln as having “an abiding spirit of nationalism.” Rawley all the way back in 1963 — the centennial year of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address, wrote a lengthy piece titled simply “The Nationalism of Abraham Lincoln.” So now to all those liberal media folks of today Lincoln is simply pushed aside — or more likely not even understood — in their haste to paint “nationalism” as some sort of white supremacist doctrine.

And there was no stronger nationalist then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who is described by Churchill biographer Michael Makovsky as using his wartime leadership to defeat the Nazis by “imbuing his nationalism and imperialism with a moral imperative.”

But what about Hitler, the critics cry. What about Mussolini? Historian Rawley answered that as well:

This suggested linking of Lincolnian nationalism with those of Italian Fascism and German Naziism so clearly ignores a vast deal of Italian and German history as well as that of the United States that it scarcely merits consideration. Those twentieth-century dictators, exploiting economic distress and national humiliation, also held out economic dreams, one a corporate state economy, the other a clever wedding of nationalism and socialism.

Exactly right. Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi were hardly Hitler-types. And in Churchill’s case Hitler was literally Churchill’s mortal enemy.

So. Trump is out there standing up for the literal dictionary definition of nationalism, as a President “who strongly identifies with their own nation and vigorously supports its interests, especially to the exclusion or detriment of the interests of other nations.” He follows in the footsteps of Lincoln, Gandhi, and Churchill, nationalists all. And CNN turns this into white supremacy. Unreal.

The sad thing here is that yet again the only “dog whistle” to race is coming from those in the liberal media. And it is always for the same reason. Liberals use race in politics to win elections. And liberals in the media use race to back up those liberal politicians.

It would be nice to think this liberal media dog whistling would stop, at CNN and MSNBC and all the other usual liberal venues. But sorry to say, one can easily suspect it will not. Liberals are addicted to using race — obsessed.

I realize politics isn’t beanball, as Mr. Dooley said. But knowing history should count for something.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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