Brooks: GOP Hasn’t ‘Controlled the Alt-Right Movement,’ It’s ‘A Long-Term Problem for the Party’

On Friday’s “PBS NewsHour,” New York Times columnist David Brooks argued that “the Republican Party has not controlled the alt-right movement. … And it is a long-term problem for the party. It is a long-term problem that you are basically an all white party. And so, that is just a core problem that Trump has now exacerbated and blown up.”

Brooks said, “I happen to think Donald Trump’s campaign began with an act of ethnic signaling, or more. I mean, when the San Bernardino thing happened, and he wanted to ban Muslim immigration into the country — entrance into the country, that is — that was blanketing an entire ethnic group or an entire religion. And that’s bigotry. And so that was the thing that exploded his campaign. And there have been just signals all along the way, between alt-right and the Trump campaign. And it just seems to me there is always a danger in every party for — to be taken over by some radical, angry fringe. … And the Republican Party has not controlled the alt-right movement. And, therefore, it has come into the movement. Trump has welcomed it in with a wink and a nod. And it is a long-term problem for the party. It is a long-term problem that you are basically an all white party. And so, that is just a core problem that Trump has now exacerbated and blown up.”

Brooks added, “One has to continually distinguish between Trump and the Trump supporters. And it’s too easy to say, oh, they’re all a bunch of racists.” A characterization that Brooks stated is “unfair.”

He added that Trump is “the wrong answer to a right question, that a lot of people feel a lot of anxiety. They feel they’ve lost dignity, they’ve lost a role. And, sometimes, in those cases, they do go to a little ethnic tribal fear. But the way to ease that fear is not to say, oh, they’re all a bunch of racists. And she’s [Hillary Clinton] not guilty of that, but it’s something that’s floating around the conversation.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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