lunes, 4 de julio de 2016

Trump comments 'clearly' racist, says Gary Johnson amid antisemitism furor

Image tweeted by Trump found on white supremacist message board
Lewandowski: six-pointed star in Clinton image is just ‘a simple star’
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The Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson, said on Sunday Donald Trump’s recent comments were “clearly” racist, a day after the presumptive Republican nominee faced accusations of antisemitism and in the same week that he said he would consider firing government employees who wear hijabs.

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“He has said 100 things that would disqualify anyone else from running for president but it doesn’t seem to affect him,” Johnson told CNN’s State of the Union. “The stuff he’s saying is just incendiary. It’s racist.”

Earlier this week, a New Hampshire woman asked Trump at one of his rallies whether, as president, he would replace Transportation Security Administration workers who wear “heebeejabbies” – apparently a reference to Muslim headscarves called hijabs.

“We are looking at that,” Trump replied. “We’re looking at a lot of things.”

At the same rally, Trump pointed to a plane flying overhead and declared: “That could be a Mexican plane up there. They’re getting ready to attack.”

On Saturday, Trump posted online an image of the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, superimposed over a pile of cash and a six-pointed star carrying the text “most corrupt candidate ever”.

He was quickly accused of antisemitism, for the image and his use of the phrase “America first”, which the Anti-Defamation League has urged him not to use because of its history with Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s.

The news site Mic traced the image to a white supremacist message board, where on Sunday commenters celebrated the death of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel peace laureate.

Trump or his campaign deleted the tweet after several hours and posted a new image featuring a circle instead of a star. His campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Corey Lewandowski, the businessman’s former campaign manager, said on Sunday the image was not important.

“The bottom line is you can read into things that are not there,” he told CNN, which hired him as a commentator a few days after he was fired two weeks ago. “You know, this is a simple star.”

Lewandowski said the star was “the same star that sheriff’s departments all over the place [use] to represent law enforcement”. In fact, the star lacked the circles on its points that such badges typically have.

“The bottom line,” Lewandowski said of the accusations, “is this is political correctness run amok.”

Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism when she married in 2009, and the candidate has repeatedly affirmed his support for Israel. Johnson has campaigned hard for the votes of Republicans who feel they cannot vote for Trump because of his long history of racially charged and offensive statements. Party leaders such as Paul Ryan have called Trump’s statements racist but said they will vote for him, arguing for party unity and the importance of a Republican president filling a vacancy on the supreme court.

Mitt Romney, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, who picked Ryan as his running mate, has repeatedly condemned Trump in strong language, and said he threatens to legitimize feelings of racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Last month he suggested he may vote for Johnson, and this week he again said he would under no circumstances vote for Trump.

“For me, it’s a matter of personal conscience, and I can’t vote for either one of those two people,” he said at the Aspen Ideas Festival, alluding to Trump and Clinton. Romney praised Johnson’s running mate, William Weld, like him a former Massachusetts governor, but said he was not ready to endorse the Libertarians.

He added a dark warning about the future of the Republican party and the US generally, should feelings of fear and hate come to dominate politics.

“Every democracy commits suicide,” he said, paraphrasing John Adams. “There never was a democracy yet where the people didn’t vote themselves into oblivion.”

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Many veteran Republicans have attempted to hew to a middle road between the man their voters have elected and their own beliefs and colleagues. Ryan has said members of Congress should vote according to their conscience. Many senators and representatives have simply fallen back on old promises to support the nominee.

Among them on Sunday was Senator John McCain, the party’s 2008 nominee and a man whom Trump derided for having been captured in the Vietnam war.

“As I’ve said, I would support the nominee,” he told CBS in an interview from Kabul. He added that he has “strong disagreements” with Trump. McCain has called for Trump to apologize to veterans who were prisoners of war.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who has called Trump “a nut job”, made similarly muted remarks. On Sunday he went so far as to praise Clinton’s proposal for a no-fly zone over Syria, and told CBS that he believes Trump “has no idea” about the realities of the Middle East.

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