September 10, 2017 News · Press Releases and Announcements

Day 30: Unlike Donald Trump, Ed Gillespie’s Old Boss George W. Bush Rejected White Supremacists


by Prateek Mishra

Day 30: Unlike Donald Trump, Ed Gillespie’s Old Boss George W. Bush Rejected White Supremacists

Republican Presidents used to condemn white supremacists — not defend them.

Just ask Ed Gillespie.

In 1991, President George H. W. Bush emphatically denounced Duke’s run for U.S. Senate, declaring that “when someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, it is inconceivable that someone can reasonably aspire to a leadership role in a free society.” Eight years later, Gillespie’s former boss George W. Bush unequivocally condemned David Duke, saying he represents “the politics of hate.”

Fast-forward to 2016, when Donald Trump repeatedly flirted with the alt-right and failed to strongly disavow David Duke’s endorsement — and Ed Gillespie said nothing. Then, as President, Trump defended the violence and vitriol of the white supremacists and Nazis in Charlottesville. And Ed Gillespie once again refused to speak out.

Gillespie knows that American presidents — Republican or Democrat — have a moral obligation to repudiate white supremacy and hatred. That’s what his former boss George W. Bush did. But instead of calling out Trump for betraying the legacy of the Party of Lincoln, for thirty days Gillespie has refused to speak out. He has stood silently by as Trump has done what once seemed unimaginable for any American president: defend Nazism.

By refusing to speak out, Gillespie has aligned with the most extreme elements in our politics. As conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote, Gillespie has chosen to “forfeit [his] own integrity and make the entire party offensive to everyone else — even to those who might embrace some of their economic positions.”

ED GILLESPIE’S REPUBLICAN IDOLS ON DAVID DUKE

George W. Bush Said David Duke Represents The Politics Of Hate. “David Duke represents the ‘politics of hate’ and has no place in the Republican Party, presidential candidate George W. Bush said Wednesday, but he ignored protesters who demanded that he distance himself from Gov. Foster on the Duke issue. […] ‘I came to Louisiana to campaign against him when he was running against Dave Treen's brother (John Treen),’ Bush said. ‘I reject his politics, his brand of politics of hate. As a loyal Republican, I don't want that kind of message in our party.’ […] Reporters asked Bush a second time about Duke. ‘I don't like David Duke's politics. I don't like where his heart is. I don't like the bigotry he spreads,’ Bush said.” [Times-Picayune, 8/19/99]

  • Bush: “I Reject His Politics, His Brand Of Politics Of Hate. As A Loyal Republican, I Don't Want That Kind Of Message In Our Party.” “David Duke represents the ‘politics of hate’ and has no place in the Republican Party, presidential candidate George W. Bush said Wednesday, but he ignored protesters who demanded that he distance himself from Gov. Foster on the Duke issue. […] ‘I came to Louisiana to campaign against him when he was running against Dave Treen's brother (John Treen),’ Bush said. ‘I reject his politics, his brand of politics of hate. As a loyal Republican, I don't want that kind of message in our party.’ […] Reporters asked Bush a second time about Duke. ‘I don't like David Duke's politics. I don't like where his heart is. I don't like the bigotry he spreads,’ Bush said.” [Times-Picayune, 8/19/99]

George H.W. Bush On David Duke: “When Someone Asserts The Holocaust Never Took Place, Then I Don't Believe That Person Ever Deserves One Iota Of Public Trust.” “In his strongest comments to date on the Louisiana governor's race, President Bush said today that State Representative David Duke was a charlatan unfit to hold public office because he has espoused racist and neo-Nazi beliefs. […] ‘When someone asserts the Holocaust never took place, then I don't believe that person ever deserves one iota of public trust. When someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, it is inconceivable that someone can reasonably aspire to a leadership role in a free society.’” [New York Times, 11/7/91]

  • Bush: “When Someone Has So Recently Endorsed Nazism, It Is Inconceivable That Someone Can Reasonably Aspire To A Leadership Role In A Free Society.” “In his strongest comments to date on the Louisiana governor's race, President Bush said today that State Representative David Duke was a charlatan unfit to hold public office because he has espoused racist and neo-Nazi beliefs. […] ‘When someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign. So I believe David Duke is an insincere charlatan. I believe he's attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana, I believe he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.’” [New York Times, 11/7/91]
  • Bush: “When Someone Has A Long Record, An Ugly Record Of Racism And Of Bigotry, That Record Simply Cannot Be Erased By The Glib Rhetoric Of A Political Campaign.” “In his strongest comments to date on the Louisiana governor's race, President Bush said today that State Representative David Duke was a charlatan unfit to hold public office because he has espoused racist and neo-Nazi beliefs. […] ‘When someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign. So I believe David Duke is an insincere charlatan. I believe he's attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana, I believe he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.’” [New York Times, 11/7/91]
  • Bush: “I Believe David Duke Is An Insincere Charlatan. I Believe He's Attempting To Hoodwink The Voters Of Louisiana, I Believe He Should Be Rejected For What He Is And What He Stands For.” “In his strongest comments to date on the Louisiana governor's race, President Bush said today that State Representative David Duke was a charlatan unfit to hold public office because he has espoused racist and neo-Nazi beliefs. […] ‘When someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign. So I believe David Duke is an insincere charlatan. I believe he's attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana, I believe he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.’” [New York Times, 11/7/91]
DONALD TRUMP ON DAVID DUKE

Trump When Asked About David Duke’s Endorsement: “I Don’t Need His Endorsement; I Certainly Wouldn’t Want His Endorsement. I Don’t Need Anyone’s Endorsement.” JOHN HEILEMANN: “How do you feel about the David Duke quasi-endorsement?” TRUMP: “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement. I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.” HEILEMANN: “Would you repudiate David Duke?” TRUMP: “Sure, I would do that, if it made you feel better. I don’t know anything about him. Somebody told me yesterday, whoever he is, he did endorse me. Actually I don’t think it was an endorsement. He said I was absolutely the best of all of the candidates.” [Bloomberg, 8/26/15]

Trump When Asked If He Would Repudiate David Duke: “Sure, I Would Do That, If It Made You Feel Better.” JOHN HEILEMANN: “How do you feel about the David Duke quasi-endorsement?” TRUMP: “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement. I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.” HEILEMANN: “Would you repudiate David Duke?” TRUMP: “Sure, I would do that, if it made you feel better. I don’t know anything about him. Somebody told me yesterday, whoever he is, he did endorse me. Actually I don’t think it was an endorsement. He said I was absolutely the best of all of the candidates.” [Bloomberg, 8/26/15]

  • Trump: “I Don’t Know Anything About Him. Somebody Told Me Yesterday, Whoever He Is, He Did Endorse Me. Actually I Don’t Think It Was An Endorsement. He Said I Was Absolutely The Best Of All Of The Candidates.” JOHN HEILEMANN: “How do you feel about the David Duke quasi-endorsement?” TRUMP: “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement. I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.” HEILEMANN: “Would you repudiate David Duke?” TRUMP: “Sure, I would do that, if it made you feel better. I don’t know anything about him. Somebody told me yesterday, whoever he is, he did endorse me. Actually I don’t think it was an endorsement. He said I was absolutely the best of all of the candidates.” [Bloomberg, 8/26/15]

Trump When Asked If He Would Unequivocally Condemn David Duke: “Well, Just So You Understand, I Don’t Know Anything About David Duke. Okay? I Don’t Know Anything About What You’re Even Talking About With White Supremacy Or White Supremacists. So, I Don’t Know.” JAKE TAPPER: “I want to ask you about the Anti-Defamation League, which this week called on you to publicly condemn unequivocally the racism of former KKK grand wizard David Duke, who recently said that voting against you at this point would be ‘treason to your heritage.’ 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: “Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. Okay? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.” [CNN, 2/28/16]

Trump When Asked If He Would Reject The Support Of David Duke: “I Don’t Know Any — Honestly, I Don’t Know David Duke. I Don’t Believe I Have Ever Met Him.” JAKE TAPPER: “But I guess the question from the Anti-Defamation League is, even if you don’t know about their endorsement, there are these groups and individuals endorsing you. Would you just say unequivocally you condemn them and you don’t want their support?” TRUMP: “Well, I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.” TAPPER: “The Ku Klux Klan?” TRUMP: “But you may have groups in there that are totally fine, and it would be very unfair. So, give me a list of the groups, and I will let you know.” TAPPER: “Okay. I mean, I’m just talking about David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan here, but…” TRUMP: “I don’t know any — honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.” [CNN, 2/28/16]

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