Donald Trump, GOP have been stoking hate speech for years

Best description of the Trump supporter who claimed Obama is a Muslim: "Anonymous asshole."

Best description of the Trump supporter who claimed Obama is a Muslim: “Anonymous asshole.”

Some in the GOP and the media are shocked — shocked — that supporters of the beaver tail-headed man hoping to become narcissist-in-chief are not-so-secret racists, xenophobes, and just plain jerks.

That shouldn’t be a surprise. Those supporters are just repeating what Donald Trump and many Republicans have been saying for years about President Obama, immigrants in general, and Muslims in particular. And the media have been giving them all a free ride.

Trump’s poll numbers put him at 30 percent of Republican voters, plus or minus, in a crowded and unexciting field. He’s attracting the worst of the GOP base, like the man who asked a question at a New Hampshire town hall event claiming that Obama is a Muslim and that Muslims are holding “training camps” in the U.S. to kill Americans. Trump didn’t correct the man for his false characterization of the president, instead promising that his campaign was “looking at a lot of different things,” continuing his nebulous and policy-free campaign.

Barely-registering-in-the-polls candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was among several Republicans to criticize Trump for not setting the record straight. Graham and several news organizations recalled the moment in 2008 when GOP presidential nominee John McCain corrected a questioner who thought Obama was an Arab. McCain told the woman that Obama was a patriotic American whom McCain just happened to disagree with.

Of course, this is the same Sen. McCain who picked former Alaska Gov. $arah Palin as a running mate. He never said a word when Palin claimed that Obama was “palling around with terrorists” for Obama’s work on a Chicago school improvement project that also had on board Williams Ayers, a University of Illinois professor who was in the Weather Underground decades before. Not so brave, Sen. McCain.

Trump’s campaign gave several different excuses as to why the real estate mogul didn’t correct the questioner at the New Hampshire event, including the ludicrous claim that Trump didn’t hear him, even though Trump answered, “Right.” Trump finally tweeted that he wasn’t “morally obligated” to defend Obama when someone says something bad about him. Somehow, the words “morally obligated” and “Trump” don’t go together. Talk about an oxymoron.

At a Heritage Action event, which Trump apparently was too chicken to attend after the heat of the “Muslim Obama” comments, several attendees actually defended him. Some GOP candidates blamed it all on the media, saying they were trying to “stir up controversy” and that the remarks were taken “out of context,” according to a story at Think Progress.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, also barely registering in the polls, told reporters that “It’s not my job, it’s not Donald Trump’s job, it’s not anybody’s job to police a question,” according to the Think Progress account. “The questioner can say whatever he wants, it’s a free country.”

Of course, Trump has famously questioned Obama’s citizenship for years. He’s bragged to interviewers that he had “people” in Hawaii looking into Obama’s “claims” of a birth certificate and that “you wouldn’t believe what they’re finding.” The fact that he’s never released any of this “evidence” says it all, but that hasn’t stopped the media from letting him ramble about it.

Trump gave what was billed a “major foreign-policy speech,” and it was carried live on several cable channels. It turned out to be a 30-second mention of foreign policy with much ranting against immigrants and a fundraiser for a nonexistent “veterans” group that consists of one guy and lost its nonprofit status (see Rachel Maddow’s report on the scam).

When will those in the media learn to stop giving this clown a free ride? Trump hasn’t spent any money on advertising — he doesn’t need to, when networks and cable channels often run his live speeches for free, even though they’re not doing that for any other candidate, on either side.

Trump isn’t alone in stoking hatred and misinformation among the GOP base. North Carolina state Rep. Michael Speciale recently posted a photo of Obama calling him “an Islamic son of a bitch.” Don’t forget that former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann made repeated claims that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the Obama administration. Is it any surprise that as many as 54 percent of Republican voters, and 66 percent of Trump supporters, think Obama is Muslim?

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest wasn’t surprised, according to a story from Politico. “Mr. Trump isn’t the first Republican politician to countenance these kinds of views in order to win votes,” Earnest told reporters.

Of course, all of this hate-mongering and immigrant-bashing might produce a backlash against the GOP in the end. According to another Politico story, Hispanic leaders expect more Hispanic voters to turn out in 2016.

“I think the greatest thing to ever happen to the Hispanic electorate is a gentleman named Donald Trump, he has crystalized the angst and anger of the Hispanic community,” U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Javier Palomarez told Politico in an interview. “I think that we can all rest assured that Hispanics can turn out in record numbers.”

Payback’s a bitch, no matter what language it’s in.

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