Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said on Wednesday night that she believed President Donald Trump was a white supremacist, broadly accusing him of dividing Americans along racial lines and providing direct and tacit support to those who believe white people are superior to other races.
Asked in a brief interview with The New York Times if she thought Trump was a white supremacist, Warren responded without hesitation: “Yes.”
“He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists,” Warren said during a campaign swing in western Iowa. “He’s done the wink and a nod. He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He’s done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country.”
Warren’s comments amounted to one of the starkest condemnations to date from a leading Democratic presidential candidate about Trump’s language toward minorities and immigrants. She spoke hours after former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas gave the same assessment of Trump. Asked by MSNBC if Trump was a white supremacist, O’Rourke replied, “He is.”
“He’s dehumanized or sought to dehumanize those who do not look like or pray like the majority here in this country,” O’Rourke said.
Trump has a long history of using race for his own gain, and his time in the White House has been no exception.
In his campaign for the presidency, he denigrated Mexicans, immigrants and other people of color, including continuing to push the “birtherism” lie about President Barack Obama. As president, he sought to bar people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States; said there were “very fine people on both sides” of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia; and used a vulgarity to describe African nations and Haiti.
He has warned of an “invasion” of migrants at the southern border. And just this summer, he said that four congresswomen of color should “go back” to their countries; only one of them was born outside the United States.
Trump has faced condemnations from Democratic presidential candidates in the wake of the mass shooting on Saturday in El Paso, Texas, which the suspect in the case is believed to have described in a manifesto as “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” — echoing Trump’s language.
In a speech in Iowa on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden argued that Trump had “fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.”
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey also cast blame on Trump in a speech at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white supremacist gunman killed nine people in 2015.
Warren, for her part, said Trump was intent on dividing people.
“Donald Trump has a central message,” she said. “He says to the American people, if there’s anything wrong in your life, blame them — and ‘them’ means people who aren’t the same color as you, weren’t born where you were born, don’t worship the same way you do.”