Brooks: Trump Remarks ‘Dictionary Definition of Xenophobia’ from ‘Political Freak’

New York Times columnist David Brooks argued Donald Trump’s remarks were “the dictionary definition of xenophobia, nativism” and made “in a slurring manner” on Friday’s “PBS NewsHour.”

Brooks said, “Well, it might be — what Trump said is the dictionary definition of xenophobia, nativism. He had a factually inaccurate statement that generalized about a whole group of people, inaccurately, in a slurring manner. We’ve got a parking lot right out here at the ‘NewsHour’ where we brought a bunch of immigrants. And when you pull up, they’re not trying to rape you. They’re not trying to sell drugs. They’re trying to paint your backyard — or back porch. And that’s statistically what the immigrant population is. They’re here to work. And it’s what most people’s common experience of immigrants, undocumented or not. And so that’s the reality. As Marc said, the useful thing about what’s happened is that we’ve seen this fissure in the Republican Party, where Jeb Bush came out very strongly against Trump, saying he takes it personally, Rubio again, very strongly. It’s brought them out. It’s brought their ire out, a little passion in rebutting Trump. Ted Cruz, a little more disgraceful, more or less saying he raises good issues and things like that. So we have begun to see a split. The party now has to confront this. And I think most of the leading candidates have, to my mind, come out on the right side.”

He added, “I should say, he was only a Republican since last week. So, he’s in a sui generis position of being a political freak.”

Later Brooks stated, “What matters is that — whether the Republican Party rediscovers where George W. Bush was on immigration, where John McCain was on immigration, where a lot of — where Bob Dole, where a lot of previous nominees have been. And the party has wandered into an anti-immigrant or an anti-immigration reform direction as a result of the rise of the talk radio part of the party. But that part of the party is waning, frankly, and I think it will be very possible for Jeb Bush or Rubio, whoever the nominee is, to be where McCain was, and to be where George W. Bush was. Those are not ancient history of the Republican Party. The party will rediscover that moment.” And “What Donald Trump was exploiting was the fact that people like us, and people like my newspaper, would come down hard on him for saying those things about immigrants. The same with the Confederate flag. If you can get the East Coast and West Coast establishment and the mainstream media against you, you win points in certain circles. And so you want to pick those fights. And so the Confederate flag has become one of those thumb-in-the-eye issues that people use in order to pick a culture war fight. And it helps you in the Sarah Palin wings. And so I think it’s almost become abstracted. It’s part of the media game that some people play to get attention, to pick fights and to win supports against those who don’t like the mainstream institutions.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett