Why It's Tiresome - and Dangerous - to Accuse Trump and His Supporters of Hate

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Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign victory party at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016.
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign victory party at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 3, 2016.Credit: Lucas Jackson, Reuters

To promote the canard that “Jews face a precarious future in a Trump America,” as Bethany Mandel did in a recent Haaretz op-ed, is to pretend away Donald Trump’s lifelong embrace of Jewish causes and his support of Israel. Reasonable people may differ as to whom to support in an election. But to suggest, through innuendo and outright assertion, that Mr. Trump represents “the ascendancy of hate” is irresponsible in the extreme. 

The attempt by certain critics to hold Mr. Trump accountable for every ugly statement of any supporter anywhere, while holding no other candidates to the same standard, has grown tiresome. Fortunately, the voters see through it. No matter how many times Mr. Trump explicitly disavows hate groups, his political opponents and their media acolytes nevertheless push forward the myth that these hate groups are representative of Mr. Trump’s incredibly broad range of supporters.

Those who promulgate this myth disregard Mr. Trump’s decades-long record of strong support for the Jewish people in favor of a demonstrably false and defamatory narrative. When political opponents claim that “hatred” is “core to his campaign,” they may believe they’re discrediting Mr. Trump. But they are actually discrediting themselves by suggesting that the more than 11,500,000 Americans who have voted for Mr. Trump in the primaries thus far are, as the Haaretz writer put it, “the dark underbelly of America, filled with hatred.” It is inaccurate and inappropriate to suggest that these millions of Americans who have shared their passionate concerns about jobs, the economy and national security are guided instead by sinister impulses. 

It is easy for the media to paint a scary story of hatred and bigotry among Mr. Trump’s supporters by choosing to focus their attention on the tiny minority of individuals who preach such abhorrent principles, but it is unethical and dangerous to do so. 

What many members of the public do not realize is that the media often relies on sensationalism to increase circulation and click-throughs, because telling the whole story just does not generate the audience that increases the all-important bottom line. For example, the media paid scant attention when Mr. Trump called The New York Times to unequivocally disavow statements made by David Duke, a conversation for which I was present and in which Mr. Trump said: "Anti-Semitism has no place in our society, which needs to be unified, not divided.” 

The truth of Mr. Trump’s convictions, that all Americans should have the opportunity for a better life, may not garner as many clicks as placing his photo alongside that of a hooded klansman and the Confederate battle flag, as Haaretz did a few days ago. But whenever media outlets turn voters’ attention instead to the issues they truly care about — jobs, the economy and national security — Mr. Trump picks up support.

Irresponsible language appears on the internet and elsewhere all the time, from the left and right alike — sometimes from anonymous social media users and other times from journalists out in the open. But for anyone to lead people to the conclusion that hate speech espoused by a fraction of often anonymous individuals is indicative of the environment that Mr. Trump will foster in our great country is reckless and ill-informed. When we focus on the issues voters genuinely care about, rather than on petty distractions and vendettas, we can set about the important work of Making America Great Again.

Jason Greenblatt is an Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of The Trump Organization and a Co-Founder of www.inspireconversation.com. 

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