Michael Gerson: Trump, Supporters ‘Xenophobic’ ‘European Right Wing’

During an appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 on Tuesday, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson took a swipe at supporters of Trump and accused them of being ultra-right wing, nationalist individuals. 

Gerson, who has been a harsh critic of Trump, argued that the Republican presidential candidate and his supporters have a “resentment of outside, of Mexico, of China, and immigrants. That's more like a European right wing part, a UKIP, or a National Front in France.” 

The Washington Post columnist maintained that Trump’s candidacy was a “serious issue here” and “not all fun and games for the Republican Party” and pushed the liberal line that his candidacy would be a major problem long-term: 

There is one type of populism that is kind of against ObamaCare, is concerned about government's role in our life. And the Republican Party has incorporated that populist, the Tea Party populism. There’s another kind of populism that is xenophobic. The resentment of outsiders, of Mexico, of China, and immigrants. 

That's more like a European right wing party, a UKIP, or a National Front in France. Republicans can't incorporate that. They have to make clear that there are lines here. This is not the party. And that is going to take, I think, a serious early effort to define that clearly.

See relevant transcript below. 

CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360

August 11, 2015

ANDERSON COOPER: David, do you agree with Michael that the idea that Republicans have to basically, if they want to try to weaken Trump now, or even get him out of the race, they have to start hitting him harder and sooner?

DAVID GERGEN: I don’t. Michael has written an awfully good column and I think people should read it. But I sense, Anderson, that Trump is defying gravity as you said last night. He is going to come down. If the Republicans get, everyone get’s to attack him, what it’s going to be is it will be an extended debate going past last Thursday night on into the future, on into August and into September. And if they were to force him out early, I think by beating up on him, I think that he would be more likely to run the third party candidacy if he feels victimized. Everybody’s ganged up on him. I think he is more likely to run third party.

If on the other hand, the candidates, almost to a person, begin putting forward what they believe, what their agendas are, what they would like to see happen in a way say a John Kasich has, that seem to be a much smarter way to deal with him. Let the press beat up on him. There are plenty of commentators out there right now who are going after him day after day after day. I think he to an extent enjoys that, the jousting. He likes the attention. But I don't think it is the right strategy for all the Republican candidates to start trying to force him out of the race right now

COOPER: Michael, what about that? Do you risk kind of doing more harm? Kind of poking somebody who is more than willing to fight back and fight back twice as hard

MICHAEL GERSON: I think Republicans have seen what happens when they don't really confront him. And he takes the stage and knows how to take it. I think there's a serious issue here. This is not all fun and games for the Republican Party. There is one type of populism that is kind of against ObamaCare, is concerned about government's role in our life. And the Republican Party has incorporated that populist, the Tea Party populism.

There’s another kind of populism that is xenophobic. The resentment of outsiders, of Mexico, of China, and immigrants. That's more like a European right wing party, a UKIP, or a National Front in France. Republicans can't incorporate that. They have to make clear that there are lines here. This is not the party. And that is going to take, I think, a serious early effort to define that clearly.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer was a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.