Ex-SF Mayor Willie Brown: Nancy Pelosi, Dems Fell for Trump’s Identity Politics Trap

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., joined by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., criticizes President Donald Trump's pro-Wall Street policies during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown believes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) played right into President Donald Trump’s hands when she called for the removal of Confederate statues in Congress, which is an issue she apparently was not concerned about when she was Speaker and Democrats controlled all three branches of government.

The legendary California Democrat–who amazingly has become even more interesting, candid, compelling, and outspoken than he already was in his must-read weekly San Francisco Chronicle column–noted that “every time President Trump gets in trouble he falls back on race identity politics, and the Democrats fall for it without fail.”

Of course, that is exactly what Trump’s former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon told the American Prospect‘s Robert Kuttner last week.

“The Democrats,” Bannon said, “the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”

Brown points out that Democrats like Pelosi took the bait when Trump asked whether statues of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington would come down next.

“Let’s be clear, those Confederate statues are coming down, no matter what Trump says. That’s been going on for a while now. It’s largely being done at the local level, and Democrats could just sit back and let the arc of history take its course,” Brown writes.

But Democrats, he says, “jumped.”

“In no time, my friend House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called for the removal of all Confederate-related statues in the halls of Congress, saying they’re ‘reprehensible,'” he continued. “She’s got a point, but so what? It has nothing to do with the issues that affect people, such as jobs, education and health care. Taking Trump’s bait only reinforces the impression held by too many Americans — that Democrats are all about apologizing for the country’s past attitudes about race.”


“The black vote is still the anchor tenant of the Democratic Party, but the nation’s demographics are changing. And like it or not, the Latinos and Asians who have come here and are still coming don’t see the race issue the same way,” Brown writes. “Their ancestors were not slaves. They arrived here on their own, with their families and cultures intact. That makes a difference, and Trump knows it.”

Brown concludes with a parting thought about Confederate statues.

“By the way, my solution for the Confederate statue quandary: Take down the rider, leave the horse,” he writes.


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