While the world watched as hundreds of acts of hate and violence in the US were perpetrated against women, Jews, African Americans, Latinos and Muslims in the wake of Trump's election on November 9th, there was near complete silence from Trump and his team for three days. The only statement was from spokesperson Kellyanne Conway that Hillary and Obama needed to fix any protests or issues in the country happening right now.
That statement by Conway suggests that she and Trump don't understand to what position he was just elected. There is no issue or policy in the country outside of your responsibility when you become President.
As Harry Truman noted, when you get elected President, The Buck Stops Here with you.
Conway and Trump need to meditate on that concept because at least right now they clearly don't get it.
Finally, five days later, Trump broke his silence on the subject of bigoted members of his followers engaging in hate crimes. On 60 minutes, Trump had the following to say about it:
Lesley Stahl: Do you want to say anything to those people (those perpetrating hate crimes)?
Donald Trump: I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together.
Lesley Stahl: They’re harassing Latinos, Muslims--
Donald Trump: I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, “Stop it.” If it-- if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.
"Stop it". That's Trump's tepid comment on the subject. After five days of hate crimes with nary a comment by him that is a wholly inadequate response.
I wrote on my blog "The Shadow President" what any President or President-elect should say if these crimes were being committed by their supporters:
"My fellow Americans. My transition team and I have been receiving reports about an increase in hate crimes since election day. These reports have been disturbing to me but what has been even more disturbing is that it appears some of them have been done in apparent support of me or in my name.
I categorically reject any and all acts of hate against any group whether that group is ethnic, racial, religious, gender, orientation or any other segment of American society.
America is a place where all are created equal and where all afforded the same rights and that is what my administration is about. Anyone who commits acts of hate is a criminal whose support I do not want and who should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and I will make it a priority of my administration to do that.
The Shadow President
That's how you handle something like that. A Willy Wonka-esque "stop, don't"
not only doesn't cut it, it will further embolden the bigots doing this to engage in more hate crimes.
If those of us who are Jews or Black or Latino or Muslim or LGBT wanted to hear something that would make us feel better about whether Trump would stand up for equality, instead this statement seems to confirm our worst fears.
On the LGBT front, Trump seemed to try to assuage fears he would try to rollback marriage equality with this exchange:
Lesley Stahl: Well, I guess the issue for them is marriage equality. Do you support marriage equality?------------------
Donald Trump: It-- it’s irrelevant because it was already settled. It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done.
Lesley Stahl: So even if you appoint a judge that--
Donald Trump: It’s done. It-- you have-- these cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And, I’m fine with that.
I thought about this for a while and I realized it is not a reassurance at all. Lots of cases have gone to the Supreme Court and been decided one way and then have been reversed years or decades later. Trump is about to completely change the composition of the court. One vacancy is pending and at least one or two more will come up during his first four years. Appointing two or three conservative, anti-LGBT judges would almost certainly be enough to overturn the marriage equality ruling.
Trump saying "I'm fine with that" referring to the existing ruling is no reassurance at all and here is part of why I think that. Later in the interview, Trump had this to say about Supreme Court justices:
Lesley Stahl: During the campaign, you said that you would appoint justices who were against abortion rights. Will you appoint-- are you looking to appoint a justice who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade?-----------------
Donald Trump: So look, here’s what’s going to happen-- I’m going to-- I’m pro-life. The judges will be pro-life. They’ll be very—
Lesley Stahl: But what about overturning this law--
Donald Trump: Well, there are a couple of things. They’ll be pro-life, they’ll be-- in terms of the whole gun situation, we know the Second Amendment and everybody’s talking about the Second Amendment and they’re trying to dice it up and change it, they’re going to be very pro-Second Amendment. But having to do with abortion if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states. So it would go back to the states and--
Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but then some women won’t be able to get an abortion?
Donald Trump: No, it’ll go back to the states.
The kind of Conservative activist judges that are looking to overturn Roe v Wade are overwhelmingly also anti-LGBT equality. Not 100% of them, sure, but it's not easy to find those that are for one but not the other.
Trump was talking out of both sides of his mouth during discussions on equal rights for all minorities. There was no statement that he supports equal rights for any of these groups. We must all stay vigilant and be prepared to demonstrate and fight to support equality in the face of an incoming administration that is either hostile or indifferent to those rights.
The entire 60 minutes interview transcript and video can be seen at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-donald-trump-family-melania-ivanka-lesley-stahl/