Denounce the hate, Mr. Trump

In an editorial, the New York Times says: In his victory speech early Wednesday morning, Donald Trump pledged that he “will be president for all Americans,” and he asked those who did not support him “for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.”

Here’s some guidance right off the bat, Mr. President-elect: Those sentiments will have more force if you immediately and unequivocally repudiate the outpouring of racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic insults, threats and attacks being associated with your name. Do this in a personal plea to people who supported your candidacy. Tell them this is not what you stand for, nor is it what your new administration will tolerate.

Explicit expressions of bigotry and hatred by Trump supporters were common throughout the campaign, and they have become even more intense since his election. On a department-store window in Philadelphia, vandals spray-painted “Sieg Heil 2016” and Mr. Trump’s name written with a swastika. In a Minnesota high-school bathroom, vandals scrawled the Trump campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” and next to it, “Go back to Africa.” There are many more reports pouring in of verbal and physical harassment of Muslims, Latinos and other members of minorities. Though not all are verifiable, the atmosphere of intimidation and fear is unquestionably real and will keep growing. Mr. Trump may not be able to stop it by himself, but he must do everything he can.

The problem, of course, is that Mr. Trump’s campaign was based on appeals — some explicit, some coded — to racial and ethnic resentment and division. His followers heard it starting with his speech declaring his candidacy, warning of Mexican immigrant “rapists,” continuing to a rally last weekend where he promised to bar all Syrian refugees because they “will import generations of terrorism, extremism and radicalism into your schools and throughout your communities.” These statements emboldened and even encouraged those who have been looking for a license to lash out against immigrants, refugees, minorities and anyone else they find threatening. They take his victory as vindication of their feelings.

David Duke, the former Louisiana lawmaker and former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, tweeted that Mr. Trump’s victory was “one of the most exciting nights of my life,” and also, “Our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!” In another tweet, he wrote, “Anyone telling you this was a vote for ‘unity’ is a liar and they know it!”

As a candidate, Mr. Trump could get away with ignoring racist and sexist abuse by his supporters. But as the president-elect, he has the moral duty to reject it in the most aggressive terms. There should be no space in American political discourse for violent or abusive behavior. And that includes, of course, acts of vandalism and other violence by anti-Trump demonstrators.

In a little more than two months, Donald Trump will take charge of a country of more than 320 million people of all races, ethnicities and religions. Every one of them deserves to live in safety, with dignity. [Continue reading…]

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