CNN anchor Jake Tapper was absolutely on fire when he lambasted Republicans for their silence in the face of “openly, hideously, shamelessly racist” rhetoric which bleeds from their ranks — and he placed the blame squarely on Donald Trump’s shoulders.
Which is where it belongs.
On Thursday’s edition of CNN Tonight With Jake Tapper, he laid into Republicans with a fiery video essay on something that unfortunately has become something of a phenomenon, the seeming “tolerance of intolerance.” Other political media figures have observed  this as well, Mediaite  reports.
Tapper connected the phenomenon back to his own interview  with former President Donald Trump on the subject of David Duke.
“It’s weird to think it was only three years ago when the House Republican Party itself took steps to ostracize proud White nationalist Congressman Steve King of Iowa,” Tapper said. “King never failed to come up with new and inventive ways to be racist. He once riffed poetically about the cantaloupe-sized calf muscles of pot-hauling Mexicans.”
“King eventually made just too many comments like this one:”
Tapper introduces a video clip here.
“FMR. Rep. Steve King: If you go down the road a few generations or maybe centuries with the intermarriage, I’d like to see an America that’s just so homogeneous, that it — we look a lot the same.”
“This is an effort on the left I think, to break down the American civilization and the American culture and turn it into something entirely different. I’m a champion for Western civilization.”
The clip ends here.
“King was eventually punished and essentially excommunicated from the Republican Party.
“But Republican leaders have of late developed quite a tolerance for intolerance. Listen to these insightful, pithy observations on the notion of reparations for the descendants of slaves from Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.”
Another video clip starts here and Tuberville can be heard making the following remarks:
“They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”
The video clip ends here, and Tapper interjects:
“Openly, hideously, shamelessly racist.”
“And the response from Republican leaders has been…(plays crickets chirping.)”
“Why? How did this happen?” Tapper demands. “Who invited all these extremists into the Grand Old Party?”
Now Tapper plays a video where he’s interviewing Trump, who was president at the time.
“Will you unequivocally condemn David Duke and say that you don’t want his vote or that of other White supremacists in this election?”
Trump avoids answering the question.
“Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke, okay?” Trump said. “I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with White supremacy or White supremacists.”
Here the clip ends.
Now Tapper refers to New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman.
“In her new book ‘The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman writes that, after that exchange happened here on CNN in 2016, Chris Christie warned Trump he needed to distance himself from White supremacists.”
“Trump basically said, sure but not right now.”
“Why?” Tapper asked. “Because Trump said — quote — a lot of these people vote.”
“A lot of these people vote.”
“These extremist views are making the American experiment difficult to achieve. How can you work on legislation with someone who pushes messaging and seems to subscribe to QAnon, a group that accuses Democrats of being part of a satanic pedophilic cult that eats babies, that casts their political opponents not just as wrong, but as evil?”
“And that’s how you get this,” Tapper says, playing a clip of the January 6 riot at the Capitol building.
“January 6, 2021.”
Tapper closed out the segment by playing a clip of the late Sen. John McCain railing against a woman at a 2008 campaign event after she said “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he’s not — he’s a — he’s an Arab.”
“Republican Senator and Presidential nominee John McCain took that woman’s microphone,” Tapper said. “Political leaders today in the Republican Party seem even more inclined to turn up the volume.”
Well, Tapper’s not wrong. And this is sad. By refusing to speak up against White supremacists, and saying that some of them are “very fine people,” Trump opened the floodgates. Extremists who’d previously hidden their disgusting views now thought it was okay to crawl out from under their rocks and spew racist bile.
That’s where this country is at right now. That’s how far the U.S. has fallen.
How tragic is that?