Trump Condemns Racism Following Years of Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

President Trump condemned white nationalism today in the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso — but his consistent messaging on immigration as an “invasion” was echoed in the gunman’s manifesto.

Trump's Shocking Rhetoric on Immigration

President Trump has condemned white nationalism days after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas left at least 22 dead. A manifesto written by the gunman railed against the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” — language that echoes that of the president. He saw the presence of people of Latin American descent in Texas as an “invasion,” even though the presence of such people predates the existence of the state of Texas. The president himself gave a speech announcing that “in one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated.” On Twitter, however, the president’s immediate instinct was less to defeat white nationalism than to concede to it, by urging Democrats to pass his unpopular, restrictionist immigration agenda in exchange for implementing popular gun-control policies.

Leading conservative outlets have openly condemned white nationalism. In a deeply polarized age, it will fall to those on the right to lead their cohorts away from the right-wing ethno-nationalism that has captured the imagination of the party’s intellectuals, and its rank and file. Underlying political factors that have led to this moment remain unaltered, and unless they change, these condemnations will not be sufficient to move the Republican Party and the conservative movement from its current course.

As Americans were preparing to vote in the 2018 midterm elections, a white supremacist walked into a synagogue in Pittsburgh and slaughtered a dozen people. A Trump hater, the shooter nevertheless echoed the centerpiece of the president’s midterm campaign, an obsession with an “invasion” of Central American migrants that would destroy America by rendering it less white. The shooter held Jews responsible for this act of “genocide,” and so believed he was justified in killing as many Jews as possible. President Trump will not change who he has always been. And as long as the Republican Party and the conservative media are committed to defending him, their attempts to join their fellow Americans in eradicating the scourge of white nationalism won’t be realized.