NY Mag: After Orlando 2016 Race Now a ‘Civil War’

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Rebecca Traister writes in New York Magazine:

On the night that Omar Mateen killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Donald Trump’s friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone wrote a post on his website that was seemingly unrelated. It concerned Huma Abedin, a close aide to Hillary Clinton. In the brief post, Stone idly wondered if, in addition to being Clinton’s “chic gal pal,” Abedin might not also be a “Saudi Spy? … Foreign Spy?” or “Terrorist plant?”

On any other day, after any other week, Stone’s comments might well have been written off as nothing more than his readily expressed bigotry. But at this juncture, they seemed in sync with the larger message that Stone’s compatriot Donald Trump was about to push through major media. Appearing on Fox News the morning after the shooting, Trump said of President Barack Obama’s refusal to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism”: “Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”

You don’t need to recall that Donald Trump got his political start with Republicans by waging a lengthy campaign to force our first African-American president to cough up a birth certificate to understand the Republican nominee’s suggestion that Obama is working with or supporting or at least sympathetic to Islamic terrorism. And you don’t need a roadmap to understand his ally Roger Stone — who on Monday took his show to the airwaves, arguing in a radio interview that “now that Islamic terrorism is going to be front and center, there’s going to be a new focus on whether … the administration of Hillary Clinton at State was permeated at the highest levels by Saudi intelligence and others who are not loyal Americans” — was trying to cast similar doubt on the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, in this case via her long-time aide. “I speak specifically of Huma Abedin,” Stone said on Sirius radio, “the right-hand woman, now vice-chairman or co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.” He went on to describe Abedin — whose background is well known — in birther-esque terms of mystery. “She has a very troubling past. She comes out of nowhere. She seems to have an enormous amount of cash … so we have to ask: Do we have a Saudi spy in our midst? Do we have a terrorist agent?”

These suggestions from both Trump and Stone are so brazen and grotesque in their bigotry and dishonesty that they might take your breath away were they not so in keeping with the tone and substance of the larger electoral war being waged around us as we turn a perilous corner toward the fall.

Read the full story here.


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