And then there are the literally dozens of times in which Trump has made either outright racist claims or sought to weaponize race for his own political benefit.
There’s more. Much more. But the point here is clear: Donald Trump has a very long history of avoiding direct condemnation of white supremacist and other hate groups while simultaneously saying and doing things that any neutral observer would be forced to conclude are racist.
In short: Trump’s baffling comment about the Proud Boys, which the group immediately embraced as a not-so-subtle call to action, don’t land in a vacuum. If they did, maybe White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley could get away with saying — credibly — that what the President meant is that “he wants (Proud Boys) to get out of the way,” as he did on CNN’s “New Day” Wednesday morning.
The context — the sheer reams of comments made by Trump about race and white supremacist groups — is an avalanche, however. And it all points very clearly to this reality: Donald Trump has repeatedly not only refused to condemn hate groups but also, in the words he has chosen to describe them and their actions, provided cover and succor to them.