I suppose I must say something about this, since he said it here in South Carolina — yet another blot on our ledger.
Not that we control what Donald Trump says. No, the really, truly shameful thing about it for us is that some people present — most of them likely to have been South Carolinians — cheered when he said it:
At a rally in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina on Monday evening, Trump pointed to the statement he released earlier in the day.
“Should I read you the statement?” he asked.
The crowd enthusiastically agreed that he should.
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on,” he said, adding the word “hell” for emphasis this time.
Supporters erupted in applause….
In another version of that story, that applause is described as “a boisterous standing ovation.” Is that accurate? View and listen to the video clip above, and judge for yourself.
The response is important because it is our shame, but also because Trump, employing his usual odd logic, used it to defend himself this morning: Hey, these people loved it, so it must not have been a bad idea….
In a way, for the rest of us to have to condemn this is an insult itself. We shouldn’t have to say anything, because anyone who thinks we wouldn’t be sickened by hearing something so stupid and hateful is insulting us by such a supposition.
But since South Carolinians applauded, we need to separate ourselves from them. How about if we do it this way: Let’s deport everyone who applauded and cheered, and then refuse to let them back in. It might not make us safer, but it would certainly make this political season less objectionable. (And no, I don’t mean it.)
So yeah: It was horrible. Probably the most horrible thing he’s said yet, although he’s got quite a competition going with himself. He’s an idiot, and he’s evil. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that vast numbers of likely voters love him for his worst qualities, which points to a profound sickness in our body politic.
He’s been denounced — by Muslims of course, by Lindsey Graham, by Paul Ryan, by Dick Cheney (no soft-on-terror guy he), by leaders all around the world. And pundits, of course. I like what Alexandra Petri said: “What will make America great again is getting rid of Donald Trump.”
South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison said:
Donald Trump’s comments offend the very fabric upon which our country was founded. His racist and offensive campaign for President of the United States should embarrass the Republican Party. His comments are an embarrassment to South Carolinians, who believe in equality, fairness, and justice for all.
… which would have a lot more impact if Jaime didn’t denounce pretty much everything any Republican candidate has to say.
What else is left to say? I’ll leave it to you…