There’s a common misconception that opinions are equivalent to facts when it comes to debate — that if a person thinks something is true, that’s as worthy of consideration as whether it actually IS true. And when I say “common,” what I mean is that Republicans think that.
You see it most often in the case of racism, and whether or not it’s a current problem in America. Most people would agree that hate crimes have dramatically increased across the country. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter if they agree or not — hate crimes have increased since the election of Donald Trump. Racism, while it has never gone away, is at an all-time high since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
But Americans were warned about how much Republicans would deny this fact, all the way back in November 2016, just after the election took place. CNN host Jake Tapper welcomed House Speaker Paul Ryan onto his show State of the Union less than a week after America was collectively shocked by Donald Trump’s electoral win. But the show opened with news of racist graffiti, harassment, and a general sense of fear among minorities and women about what might be in store for them under a Donald Trump administration. Tapper asked Ryan to speak to the people who are afraid of the violence and hate crimes against minorities and women that have occurred post-election, and his response was predictable:
First of all, I hate it that people feel this way. And second of all, they should not. I think people should be rest assured, America is a pluralistic inclusive country. It is, it has been and it will continue to be. So, I really think people should put their minds at ease.”
Tapper asked that he simply acknowledge that the fear is an actual real thing, that there should be some reassurance from the GOP that people could feel safe. Ryan responded by shocking Tapper, denying that the GOP had any role in it, and telling him that the Trump supporters that were responsible for these awful acts are “not Republicans.”
That’s terrible. By the way, that’s not Republicans. We are the party of Lincoln. People who espouse those views, they’re not Republicans. We don’t want them in our party even if they’re thinking about it.”
That’s a perfect example of what we should have known about Republican denial of simple facts — of COURSE the people carrying out these acts were conservatives and supporters of Donald Trump. They made no secret of it, showing up at rallies with racist signs and turning out in droves to vote for the racist platform that Trump ran his campaign on. But Paul Ryan was deep in denial still, and hit Jake Tapper with possibly the most ridiculous statement yet:
And I’m confident Donald Trump feels the same way.”
Paul Ryan and other Republicans spent much of the election season condemning Donald Trump for his racist, divisive rhetoric. Since he was elected, they have spent all of their time ignoring it. We should have known from the beginning that Republicans would never do anything to stop or even slow down the ramping up of racial hatred and Trump’s deliberate winding up of his base against immigrants, women, minorities, reporters, and facts in general. He counts on his supporters to continue thinking their opinions are as valid as facts.
You can watch the interview below:
Featured image is a screenshot