The New York Times has released a statement defending its columnist Mara Gay after she stated Tuesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that she was “disturbed” by trucks donning American flags or pro-Trump messages and insisted we must “separate Americanness, America, from whiteness.”
“New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay’s comments on MSNBC have been irresponsibly taken out of context,” the New York Times Communications Twitter account wrote in a tweet, claiming that her comments were instead about supporters of former President Donald Trump and their love of the American flag.
New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay's comments on MSNBC have been irresponsibly taken out of context. Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith.
— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) June 8, 2021
“Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag,” the New York Times account added. “The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith.”
According to Gay, many Americans who voted for Trump “see Americanness as the same as one with whiteness”:
You know, the reality is here that we have a large percentage of the American population — I don’t know how big it is, but we have tens of millions of Trump voters who continue to believe that their rights as citizens are under threat by simple virtue of having to share the democracy with others. I think that as long as they see Americanness as the same as one with whiteness, this is going to continue. We have to figure out how to get every American a place at the table in this democracy but how to separate Americanness, America, from whiteness.
Until we can confront that and talk about that, this is really going to continue.
Gay’s criticism of pro-Trump stickers and American flags continued as she associated Trump supporters with American flag stickers and merchandise:
I was on Long Island this weekend, visiting a really dear friend, and I was really disturbed. I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pickup trucks with [expletives] against Joe Biden on the back of them, Trump flags, and in some cases, just dozens of American flags, which is also just disturbing, because essentially the message was clear, it was: ‘This is my country. This is not your country. I own this.’ And so until we’re ready to have that conversation, this is going to continue. What really is concerning to me as well is, it’s not just Democrats in Congress. I think there’s a large percentage of Americans, even some of my colleagues in journalism, who are invested in some way in pretending that this isn’t the threat that it is. That is the real concern.
Gay also stated that the many “Trump voters who are not going to get onboard with democracy, they’re a minority” and insisted that “you can marginalize them long-term.”