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Chicago Tribune - July 18, 2019

Donald Trump stood there Wednesday night behind a lectern, silent, as a crowd of Americans at his rally erupted in a chant directed at a Somali-born Muslim congresswoman from Minnesota: “Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!”

It was chilling. An angry mob wanting an American citizen whose views they disagree with run out of the country. It’s the kind of thing that gets out of hand. It’s the kind of thing that gets people killed.

Trump lit the racist fire that led to those chants earlier this week, sending a series of tweets telling Rep. Ilhan Omar and three other Democratic congresswomen, all women of color, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” a textbook racist trope.

Coward that he is, Trump squawked defensively, claiming his tweets weren’t racist and, heck, he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body!

So why didn’t he stop those chants Wednesday night? Why didn’t he put out the fire he lit?

Racists tend to be cowardly like that, happy to spout hateful rhetoric but unwilling to admit they flat-out hate — or fear — people different from them.

Own it, man. Without conviction, you’re just peddling snake oil.

But no, Trump won’t fess up. And, as we learned this week, neither will the Republicans who march in lockstep with him. They saw no racism. Anyone calling Trump a racist is the real racist, right? Or maybe an anti-Semite, which, given that this president has praised torch-wielding white folks who chanted “Jews will not replace us!” as “very fine people,” is an upside-down piece of dishonest hypocrisy.

Oh, the Republicans say, I don’t like all the things Trump says, but I stand behind the president.

As if there’s daylight between “being racist” and “supporting a racist.” If you believe that, get ready to spend your days in darkness. ...
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