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SEPT. 2, 2017
NEWS FEATURE

Trump Still Popular Among Base and Republicans Following Charlottesville Controversy

by HFC Staff

President Donald Trump’s approval ratings improved by 6 percentage points in a Quinnipiac survey taken after the Charlottesville controversy, despite criticism by major media outlets and politicians on both sides of the political spectrum over his response to the deadly protests. Trump’s approval went from 33 percent prior to Charlottesville to 39 percent after. Thirty-nine percent is

still considered low for a president’s approval, but it is still higher than both Bush presidencies that dipped into the 20s at times.

A stunning 81 percent of Republican respondents expressed approval for the president, while 94 percent of Democrats said they disapproved of the job he was doing. A majority of Independent respondents also disapproved of Trump.

The poll result comes as a surprise after critics from the highest level of government, military officials, and counter hate protestors slammed the president. Some political analysts see this trend similar to the pre-election pattern that showed massive disapproval of the president by the media and establishment only to see Trump end up winning the presidential election.

Following the death of protestor Heather Hayer who was killed by a white supremacist during a hate rally put together by Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, Trump criticized people on “many sides” for being responsible for the violence. His remark drew widespread criticism for suggesting a moral equivalence between the two hate groups and the protestors. The following day he read a scripted response that condemned the hate groups. The day after, the president spoke off the cuff and reverted back to his original comment that both sides were to blame, adding that there were “many fine people on both sides” of the protest.

Due to Trump’s reluctance to denounce Nazis unequivocally, several top CEOs from some of the country’s largest companies and union quit Trump’s manufacturing council and economic advisory council -- two major business councils that were responsible for helping with Trump’s plan for strengthening manufacturing and jobs creation. The wave of CEO departures forced the president to disband both councils.

CEO of Merck, Ken Frazier, who quit Trump’s manufacturing council said: “Our country's strength comes from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, races, sexual orientations and political beliefs. America's leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal. As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”

CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon said: “Racism, intolerance and violence are always wrong. The equal treatment of all people is one of our nation's bedrock principles. There is no room for equivocation here: the evil on display by these perpetrators of hate should be condemned and has no place in a country that draws strength from our diversity and community.”

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn) offered one of the most powerful criticism of Trump: "The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. He also recently has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation. He has not demonstrated that he understands what has made this nation great and what it is today.”

Other prominent Republicans -- Sens. John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Jeff Flake -- criticized Trump’s response.

White Nationalists at Charlottesville

Nazis and the KKK, armed themselves with shields, sticks, and combat gear chanting: “Jews will not replace us.” Nazis and the KKK have a history of murder, lynching, and believe in a segregated country along racial lines. Members speak of achieving this end even if it includes using violence and having separate states for Whites and non-Whites. Since 9/11, there has been more killings by white nationalists in the U.S. than foreign terrorists yet the Trump administration has diverted money to combat homegrown terrorism by hate groups such as the KKK to fighting international terrorism. The KKK and white supremacist groups are highly networked and armed.

During the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, former KKK leader David Duke said the event is in line with President Trump’s promises.

“This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

After President Trump condemned the “alt-left” for “charging at the alt-right,” David Duke responded to Trump’s remark on Twitter: “Thank you President Trump for your honesty and courage to tell the truth about Charlottesville and condemn the leftist terrorists in BLM/Antifa,”

White nationalist groups praised Trump’s initial comments about the protests in which he denounced violence “on all sides,” rather than directly condemning white supremacism.

While it took the events following Charlottesville for some people to have a strong opinion that Trump is a racist, others are not surprised and contend that the president has a long history of racism.

History of Racism According to the DNC               

The Democratic National Convention issued an outline of Trump’s history of racism.

1969: A black family in Cincinnati sues the Trump family for discriminating against them at a housing complex that was managed by Donald Trump.  The Trump employee who managed the complex on site allegedly told the plaintiff that he would never get an apartment, and called a housing organization representative a “n----- lover.”  Donald Trump would later describe the employee as a “fabulous man” and an “amazing manager” in his first book.

1973: The Department of Justice files a lawsuit against Trump Management, founded by Fred Trump and run at the time by Donald Trump, for discriminating against minorities at 39 buildings in New York and Virginia. The DOJ alleged that Trump’s company would inform black renters that apartments were not available when there were in fact vacancies and that staffers were instructed to use codes – like the letter “C” for “colored” – in order to determine if an application belonged to a black potential renter so it could be rejected.

1975: After a legal battle in which Donald Trump countersued the U.S. government complaining that his company was being forced to rent to welfare recipients, the Trumps reach a historic settlement with the DOJ in which they promised not to discriminate against minority renters.

1978: Just three years after reaching a settlement with the DOJ, the government accuses the Trumps of violating the terms of the agreement, citing numerous examples of the Trumps continuing to deny apartments to minorities and steering minority renters to specific properties.

1982: Trump’s companies are once again sued for discriminating against African-Americans in a suit alleging that minority renters were turned away from properties with vacancies immediately before white applicants were told that apartments were available.  In defending themselves, lawyers for Trump and the co-defendants made a series of demeaning and racially-charged arguments, including characterizing the plaintiffs as ignorant, lacking honesty and integrity, and even attempted to make an issue out of one plaintiff’s fathering of illegitimate children.  In one exchange, Trump’s own lawyer questioned an African-American plaintiff about whether he had ever been involved in a “black or militant movement.”  After losing an effort to have the judge reject the group as a class, the co-defendants settled the suit in 1984.

1980s: According to a former Trump casino employee, “When Donald and Ivana came to the casino, the bosses would order all the black people off the floor. … They put us all in the back.”

1989: Trump wades into the “Central Park 5” crisis by paying for a racially-provocative newspaper ad warning of “roving bands of wild criminals” and making a series of racially-charged and incendiary comments about suspects in the case, who are later exonerated.

1989: During an interview, Trump says ''a well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market. I think sometimes a black may think they don't have an advantage or this and that…I've said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I believe they do have an actual advantage.''

1990: Trump responds to reports that he keeps a book of Adolf Hitler’s speeches by his bed by confirming that he has the book but insisting it was sent by “a man who I think is Jewish” and threatening to sue the outlet that reported the story.

1991: Trump was fined $200,000 after one of his casinos repeatedly moved minority and female dealers off of the casino floor to accommodate a racist high roller who was reportedly a Trump friend.

1991: Trump is accused of making racial slurs against black people in a book written by a former president of his casino company, who wrote that Trump had once complained: “black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”

1993: In stunning testimony before a U.S. Congressional committee, Trump makes a series of racist comments about Native Americans while making his case against Native American casinos, including the accusation that “obvious that organized crime is rampant” on Native American reservations and claims chiefs were condoning it.

1997: Reviving his attacks on Native American casinos, Trump tells an interview that the U.S. only owes Native Americans something “if they’re real Indians…I mean, you have to check and see whether or not they’re real Indians…I made a statement, they don’t look like Indians to me.”

2000: As part of his ongoing campaign against Native American casinos, Trump secretly finances a series of newspaper advertisements in upstate New York that accused a Native American tribe of being involved in criminal activity.  One advertisement suggests that the tribe is involved in drug trafficking.

2005: Trump floats a race war version of ‘The Apprentice,’ pitting an “assortment” of blacks “against whites.”

2011: Trump begins peddling doubts that Obama was born in the United States and suggests Obama may not be releasing his birth certificate because “where it says ‘religion,’ it might have ‘Muslim.’ And if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion.” 

 2011: Trump says there is “absolutely” A ‘Muslim problem’ in the world, adding that “I don’t notice Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center.”

2012: After President Obama produced his long-form birth certificate, Trump tweets that an “'extremely credible source' has called my office and told me that @barackobama's birth certificate is a fraud.”

2013: Trump outlines a racially-charged immigration platform in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), telling the crowd that the U.S. should open its borders more for European immigrants –  “people whose sons went to Harvard.”

2013: Trump tweets that the “overwhelming amount of violent crimes in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics.”

2013: Trump continues casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Obama presidency, telling an interviewer he has “no idea” whether Obama was born in the United States and that “nobody knows” whether his birth certificate was real.

June 2015: Trump launches his presidential campaign with a speech in which he labeled Mexican immigrants as criminals, rapists, and drug smugglers.

July 2015: Trump doubles down on his statements about Mexican immigrants amid a torrent of criticism, adding that “tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border.”

Aug. 2015: Trump responds to a question about white supremacists’ support for him by saying “a lot of people like me.”

Oct. 2015: Trump quotes a tweet that says “I cannot believe the increase in illegals here in San Antonio Texas. We are the minority constantly discriminated against.”

Nov. 2015: Trump says a Black Lives Matter protester who interrupted one of his rallies was “so obnoxious and so loud” that “maybe he should have been roughed up.”

Nov. 2015: Trump retweets inaccurate crime statistics that appeared to originate from a Neo-Nazi Twitter user claiming blacks were responsible for the vast majority of killings.

Dec. 2015: Trump invokes a series of stereotypes about Jews during a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition, making comments about the audience’s negotiating skills and money.

Dec. 2015: Trump proposes a “total complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” citing polling he said showed “great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim populations.”  The next day, Trump defends his proposal by citing the internment of Japanese, German and Italian Americans during World War II.

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