Media figures are pointing out that Republican leaders have been silent after Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s August 25 speech linking Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to the “alt-right” movement.
Hillary Clinton Highlights Donald Trump’s Promotion Of The “Alt-Right”
Clinton: Trump “Is Taking Hate Groups Mainstream.” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton delivered a speech on August 25 denouncing Republican nominee Donald Trump’s “embrace of the ‘alt-right’ political philosophy.” Clinton stated that Trump is “taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.” Clinton also called the hiring of Breitbart CEO Steve Bannon as Trump’s campaign chair a “landmark achievement for the alt-right.” From The New York Times:
“He is taking hate groups mainstream,” Mrs. Clinton told supporters at a community college here, “and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.”
Mrs. Clinton said that while a racially charged and “paranoid fringe” had always existed in politics, “it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it and giving it a national megaphone, until now.”
“This is someone who retweets white supremacists online,” Mrs. Clinton said, citing a posting by someone with the username “WhiteGenocideTM. “Trump took this fringe bigot with a few dozen followers and spread his message to 11 million people.”
By the end, Mrs. Clinton was quoting headlines from the Breitbart News website, which is overseen by Mr. Trump’s new campaign chief, Stephen K. Bannon.
“I’m not making this up,” she warned, before digging into the site’s archives: “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy”; “‘Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?’”; “Hoist It High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage.”
“The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for the alt-right,” Mrs. Clinton said. [The New York Times, 8/25/16]
Media Point Out The “Sound Of Silence” As Republicans Neglect To Defend Trump From Clinton’s Remarks
NBC's Chuck Todd: “Silence” From Republicans After Clinton's Speech Tying Trump To The “Alt-Right” “Is Stunning” NBC’s Chuck Todd said on Today that “Hillary Clinton called the Republican nominee a racist” and “No Republicans outside the campaign said, ‘How dare you.’” Todd called the “sound of silence among mainstream Republican” “stunning.” From the August 26 edition of NBC’s Today:
CHUCK TODD: By the way, there's an amazing thing that happened yesterday. Hillary Clinton called the Republican nominee a racist, and all these Republicans decided to come and say, “Oh my gosh you” -- not a word. No Republicans outside the campaign said, “How dare you, Hillary Clinton, call the Republican nominee a racist.” The sound of silence among mainstream Republican elected officials yesterday is stunning. [NBC, Today, 8/26/16]
ABC’s Jonathan Karl: Republican Leaders “Have Been Largely Silent” In Response To Clinton’s Attacks On Trump. ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported that “you might expect that Republican leaders would leap to the defense of their party's nominee,” but “they have been largely silent.” Karl also noted that there have been “No notable tweets or statements from leading Republicans defending Trump from the alarming charges.” From the August 26 edition of Good Morning America:
JONATHAN KARL: After the kind of attack that Hillary Clinton leveled at Donald Trump yesterday, you might expect that Republican leaders would leap to the defense of their party's nominee. But, George, as of now, they have been largely silent. No notable tweets or statements from leading Republicans defending Trump from the alarming charges made by Hillary Clinton. [ABC, Good Morning America, 8/26/16]
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “GOP Leaders Are Not Stepping Up To Defend Mr. Trump.” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, if she was “disappointed that GOP leaders are not stepping up to defend Mr. Trump here.” From the August 26 edition of Good Morning America:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (HOST): No tweets from Reince Priebus, the head of the GOP. No tweets from the speaker of the house, Paul Ryan, or Mitch McConnell. Are you disappointed that GOP leaders are not stepping up to defend Mr. Trump here?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Well, Reince Priebus was with Mr. Trump last night in Aspen together at a fundraiser, and they'll be in Las Vegas today for --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Nothing public, though.
CONWAY: Well, I think they’re just really busy behind the scenes. [ABC, Good Morning America, 8/26/16]
Wash. Post: “The Day After Hillary Clinton Delivered A Stinging Indictment Of Donald Trump,” “Republican Leaders Haven’t Risen To His Defense.” The Washington Post’s Philip Bump pointed out that “Republican leaders haven't risen to [Trump’s] defense” “after Hillary Clinton delivered a stinging indictment.” Bump noted that “The Republican Party has tweeted repeatedly since Clinton's speech” but hasn’t offered a “defense of its nominee,” and that House Speaker Paul Ryan has also failed to come to Trump’s defense. From the Washington Post article:
Yet the day after Hillary Clinton delivered a stinging indictment of Donald Trump, the Republican Party's ostensible leader, on the same subject, other Republican leaders haven't risen to his defense.
The Republican Party has tweeted repeatedly since Clinton's speech, praising the National Park Service, hitting Clinton on her foundation and pledging to return to the Constitution. It offered no press release in defense of its nominee, issuing one only about Clinton having not held a press conference since last year.
Speaker Paul Ryan's website (where Boehner's 2014 statement currently lives) includes an update about constituent outreach by Rep. Mac Thornberry added since Thursday -- but, then, Ryan's official page isn't the proper place for a political defense. The Facebook page for his campaign has updated twice since Clinton's speech with a YouTube video of one of his speeches and a call to update the tax code.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference has also weighed in on social media since Clinton's speech: She gave a shout-out to a local business and wrote about preventing forest fires.
The speech was not a surprise. Clinton announced that she intended to link Trump to the so-called alt-right earlier this week, making it clear she would imply that the Republican nominee had the backing of racists and anti-Semites. In a normal election cycle, that would prompt the party to line up leaders and surrogates in defense of their candidate. This isn't a normal election cycle. [The Washington Post, 8/26/16]
NBC’s Benjy Sarlin: “Glaring Lack Of GOP Pols Defending Trump Yesterday From Clinton Speech.”