MSNBC’s Butler: Trump’s Neo-Nazi, Racist Behavior Is Just Following Ronald Reagan’s Legacy

One can always count on the left to overreach. Thursday’s Hardball featured MSNBC legal analyst Paul Butler arguing that President Trump’s Charlottesville response was only a continuation of “white racism” put forth by former Republican Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. 

To make the show’s A-block even more loony, USC professor Erroll Southers later argued that “the right-wing” is “the greatest threat to our nation’s homeland and national security” thanks to Trump being “a champion in the White House.”

Host Chris Matthews teed Butler up by wondering if Trump “allowed himself to be identified with the cause of the Civil War to support the continuation and extension of slavery into the territories.”

Butler then unloaded, lumping Trump in with Reagan:

You know, I think that he’s just being more open and transparent about his close connection with white racism than some other Republicans, like Reagan and Nixon, whose whole “Southern strategy” used code words like “welfare queen” and “urban crime” to talk about black people. Again, Trump’s friendliness with white supremacists is more open, it’s more transparent, and in a sense, it’s more frightening, it’s more threatening to our nation.

Matthews largely agreed, proclaiming that “Reagan did some good things” before trashing him: “He knew what he said, not just ‘welfare queens,’ he talked — his phrase — the ‘young buck’ who would come into the supermarket and buy liquor with food stamps. That was one of his babies, too.”

The pair can try and assert that Reagan was supportive of such hatred, but the facts are not on their side. Newsmax wrote an article on Wednesday about how Reagan specifically called out such groups

“To those individuals who persist in such hateful behavior . . . you are the ones who are out of step with our society; you are the ones who willfully violate the meaning of the dream that is America. And this country, because of what it stands for, will not stand for your conduct,” Reagan told the audience.

In March of that year, 20-year-old Michael Donald was found beaten and lynched in Birmingham. Three members of the Ku Klux Klan were eventually convicted and one was later executed.

Reagan attacked the “disturbing reoccurrence of bigotry and violence.”

“A few isolated groups in the backwater of American life still hold perverted notions of     what America is all about.”

Southers continued to dig further by slamming Trump as offering “not just a dog whistle” to racists but “a foghorn to his base.” Sure, professor, there’s 63 million racists in the country (since that’s the number of people that voted for the President). Good luck making that claim without people laughing or taking offense to it.

“He’s actually defending what has become the greatest threat to our nation’s homeland and national security, which is the right wing. You’ve seen the statistics, over twice as many attacks in the last decade put out by the right wing. We knew this past weekend, we’d have trouble in Charlottesville,” Southers argued.

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The Daily Beast’s Sam Stein stepped in to call out this over-generalization (even though Stein himself is no conservative):

I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t paint the entire right-wing as the threat here. I think we need to be more specific about it. We’re talking about white nationalist right-wing extremists. Let’s not paint too broad a [brush].

Southers somewhat back-tracked, responding: “Well, what I would say is we all know that what we saw on Saturday were neo-Nazis, militia conservatives, we saw neo-Confederates, we saw several factions of the Klan. These are groups that usually are fragmented.”

Butler returned later to double down on his Republican smear, hoping that more in the GOP would condemn the President while also trashing them:

So I hope it will become even too much for the Republicans. But we have to understand that mainstream Republicans have always appealed to white resentment. No Democrat since Lyndon Johnson has gotten a majority of the vote. So these Republicans who are okay with the more subtle signs, the attacks on African-American, on civil rights, and the lack of concern about police brutality and people of color, the attacks on immigration -- again, what Trump is, is the chickens coming home to roost. But there`s always been stirring up of resentment by Republicans.

Spoiler alert, when you’re looking to convert someone to your opinion, don’t attack them at the same time.

Here’s the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on August 17:

MSNBC’s Hardball
August 17, 2017
7:03 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let me go to Paul Butler on this whole question. Let’s talk about what Trump’s up to, apparently, saying that the Lincoln — rather, the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial are in danger. This isn’t about me marching or hanging around with people who march with Nazis. I got a new angle on this baby. What do you think of this attempt to squirm out of his historic reputation problem, I think.

PAUL BUTLER Yes, so Chris, this is about deflecting and pivoting from his coziness with white supremacists to this academic debate about different ways to remember history, but here’s the thing. President Trump is not an intellectual thought leader. This week, he sounded like a bigot who just doesn’t get that the white supremacist side lost the Civil War and we now live in a country that should not honor terrorists who use violence and rape to keep black people down.

MATTHEWS: Do you think he allowed himself to be identified with the cause of the Civil War to support the continuation and extension of slavery into the territories? Do you think he got that bad off?

BUTLER: You know, I think that he’s just being more open and transparent about his close connection with white racism than some other Republicans, like Reagan and Nixon, whose whole “Southern strategy” used code words like “welfare queen” and “urban crime” to talk about black people. Again, Trump’s friendliness with white supremacists is more open, it’s more transparent, and in a sense, it’s more frightening, it’s more threatening to our nation.

MATTHEWS: Well, Reagan did some good things, but one of the bad things he did, he talked about, as he — look, you can’t disguise what he said. He knew what he said, not just "welfare queens," he talked — his phrase — the “young buck” who would come into the supermarket and buy liquor with food stamps. That was one of his babies, too.

(....)

MATTHEWS: Professor Southers, let me ask you about this whole question of — what do you hear when you hear Trump defend — basically, defend those who march with Nazis, as well as with KKK people, as well as defending the monuments to the people who really caused the Civil War?

ERROLL SOUTHERS: Well, Chris, as your previous guest mentioned, this is not just a dog whistle anymore. This is a foghorn to his base. He’s actually defending what has become the greatest threat to our nation’s homeland and national security, which is the right wing. You’ve seen the statistics, over twice as many attacks in the last decade put out by the right wing. We knew this past weekend, we’d have trouble in Charlottesville. And they see this as an incredible movement in terms of their ability to move on, be emboldened, recruit, radicalize and engage and now they’re out in force. They’re not wearing hoods or sheets anymore. They don’t feel they need to hide. And they have a champion in the White House.

SAM STEIN: I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t paint the entire right-wing as the threat here. I think we need to be more specific about it. We’re talking about white nationalist right-wing extremists. Let’s not paint too broad a —

MATTHEWS: What do you make of that, Professor?

SOUTHERS: Well, what I would say is we all know that what we saw on Saturday were neo-Nazis, militia conservatives, we saw neo-Confederates, we saw several factions of the Klan. These are groups that usually are fragmented. They usually have a lot of internal strife. They don’t usually coalesce to one location for one cause, and they did that. And with all due respect, we’re not going to paint the right wing in that way, but we are going to paint the extremists that were there, and these are the people that are being emboldened by his activities. We’ve seen attacks over the last several weeks and months that have gone ignored and not been reported, and they know what’s going on and they have a champion in what was said again for the third iteration of his explanation about what was going on...

MATTHEWS: Do you think those pictures that we’re showing, Professor, the pictures we just showed — while you couldn’t see, we’re showing people fighting with each other hands -- it’s fist to fist. It’s not exactly gun to gun, but it’s pretty rough. We’re looking at -- is that a recruitment poster for the alt-right?

SOUTHERS: Absolutely. What they wanted to have on Saturday was they wanted to be attacked by the counter-protesters. We’ve seen this in activities in other protests. We had one in Los Angeles in 2010, where the alt-right was attacked by the protesters. The following day on their Web site, they had a notice saying, We were there peacefully protesting when we were attacked. Unfortunately, on Saturday, things went tragically and deadly awry, and they were unable to respond to that. So what they’re trying to do now is to lay low. The word is out. They didn’t expect on someone to get killed, especially someone on the other side, and they have to regroup and restrategize of how they’re going to go forward.

(....)

MATTHEWS: What do you think will happen politically if that becomes the case in the rest of the summer?

BUTLER: So I hope it will become even too much for the Republicans. But we have to understand that mainstream Republicans have always appealed to white resentment. No Democrat since Lyndon Johnson has gotten a majority of the vote. So these Republicans who are okay with the more subtle signs, the attacks on African-American, on civil rights, and the lack of concern about police brutality and people of color, the attacks on immigration -- again, what Trump is, is the chickens coming home to roost. But there`s always been stirring up of resentment by Republicans.


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CyberAlerts Charlottesville violence Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racial Preferences Racism MSNBC Hardball Video Government & Press Erroll Southers Richard Nixon Chris Matthews Sam Stein Donald Trump Ronald Reagan
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