Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) argued that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims is “going to get somebody hurt” and such rhetoric can cause things like assaults and murders in an interview broadcast on Monday’s “All In with Chris Hayes” on MSNBC.
Ellison said, “he’s whipping up hatred to scapegoat a minority religious group which has some very dangerous historic precedents, as you might agree. I mean, it’s the kind of behavior that is classic demagoguery. And you know, he’s going to get somebody hurt. I don’t suppose he cares much, but it should be the kind of behavior that is roundly denounced, and the thing that scares me is that, the more he says outrageous inflammatory things, it seems like it doesn’t seem to cost him in terms of support, which makes me a little bit worried about the people who support him.”
Ellison added, “What I mean is that when leaders, who have a national platform, whip up hate and hysteria against a particular group, particularly a religious group, minority religious group which is in — that is not popular, invariably, you know, the people who are mentally unstable, or motivated by hate, come out of the woodwork and you see desecrations of buildings that are associated with that group. You see assaults. You see murders. You see things happen. There’s actually a fairly significant track record of this kind of thing, and I think that it really demonstrates how much of an anti-leader he really is. I mean, you know, for all the political disagreements I have for George Bush, after 9/11 he went to mosques. He said that we’re –anybody who desecrates a mosque is going held accountable by the law. He made it very clear that it was not the Muslim community in the United States to blame for 9/11, and yet quite the opposite is true from Donald Trump. But it’s not just Muslims. I mean, he’s said that Mexican-Americans are bringing crime, they’re bringing drugs, and they’re — some of them are rapists. And so he said this about people who are Mexican. I mean, this man is a pretty prolific hater, and he’s just getting worse. He’s capitalizing on people’s fear. He’s pandering to it. So, that’s what I mean by he can get people hurt.
He concluded, “I think to myself, I don’t like the way this is going. I know that every country including our own, you know, will go through a period of trouble, where leadership can lead people to a better place, or leadership can bring them to a dark ugly place. We can get moved toward ugly episodes like Japanese internment, turning away the St. Louis, which was a boat that was trying to save Jews from the Holocaust, and got turned around, — away, got turned away from our shores. And we can have — we can be — rise to the occasion, and offer leadership, or we can go down those dark paths. You know, I think that it can go either way, depending u[on the leadership of the people who are on the scene at the given moment, and he’s a very scary person to have on the scene. I’m hoping that other people will rise up. I’m going to be using my voice as much as I can, to denounce that he’s saying, to tell people he’s a fearmonger. He’s down on America, and he’s trying to whip up hate, and get ordinary citizens to blame their fellow citizens for their problems. This is the very core of what it means to be a demagogue. And — but that’s all we can do, because invariably, there will be people who drink that Kool-Aid that he’s serving, and yet, this is the time when we all get tested, in my opinion.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett