At the premiere of director Spike Lee’s film BlacKkKlansman, actor Ryan Eggold insisted that President Donald Trump is returning the country back to the 1960s when the Ku Klux Klan was a rampant racist force.
BlacKkKlansman follows the true story of an investigation into the Klan by Ron Stallworth, a black policeman from Colorado who in the 1970’s posed as a white man to investigate a Klan chapter operating in the small town.
Eggold, who plays dishonorably discharged soldier Walter Breachway, a recruiter for the Klan, was asked if he thinks that Lee’s film evokes fears over America’s current state of race relations.
“Do you feel Trump has emboldened racists today?” the actor was asked on the red carpet.
“Undeniably. You know, last year at Charlottesville, not immediately condemning white supremacists for attacking people is inexcusable,” Eggold insisted. “He also encourages division, he encourages hatred towards the media, he encourages people to fight each other at his rallies.”
Of course, Trump did condemn the white supremacists at Charlottesville. But he also criticized the dangerous Antifa agitators who actually started the violence in the Virginia college town.
Eggold went on to praise the wonderful era of Barack Obama saying, “I mean, we had eight years of someone who was very eloquent and tried to bring people together. And now, unfortunately, we have someone who I think who is encouraging of division because it creates fear and anger and that’s a very fertile ground for him to succeed, unfortunately. And so I think that’s what it comes down to.”
Ryan Eggold on Trump: “Not immediately condemning white supremacists for attacking people is inexcusable. He encourages division, he encourages hatred towards the media, he encourages people to fight each other at his rallies” https://t.co/QZBxzfob2e pic.twitter.com/AoeAj6PY7E
— Variety (@Variety) July 31, 2018
Eggold failed to mention how divisive Obama was for eight years. It was Obama who belittled Americans as “bitter” for “clinging to their guns or religion.” It was Obama who said that his followers should “get in the face” of those who disagree with his politics. It was Obama who said that if someone “brings a knife, we bring a gun” to political discussions. And that is not to mention Obama’s eight-year campaign against Fox News who he banned, ridiculed, and demeaned throughout his presidency.
This is the man Ryan Eggold imagines tried to “bring people together.”
Also during the premiere of the film, Ron Stallworth — the black police officer whose life story served as the basis for Lee’s film — exclaimed that race relations had gone backward in the era of Trump.
“The progress that’s been made is threatened right now because of who’s in the White House and his wink and a nod to groups like [the KKK],” Stallworth said. “We have to do what we can to knock them back down. We basically have to stay vigilant.”
Ron Stallworth — whose life story as a black police officer who infiltrated the KKK inspired #BlacKkKlansman — discusses race relations at the premiere: “The progress that's been made is threatened right now because of who's in the White House" pic.twitter.com/y7JlxqitSI
— Variety (@Variety) July 30, 2018
In truth, the Ku Klux Klan is smaller and more powerless than ever since it first rose in the Democrat-controlled south at the end of the Civil War. Even the left-wing SPLC has noted that there are fewer KKK groups than at any time in the past across the country. Where once the Klan claimed over four million members, today their membership is as few as 5,000.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.