Hillary Clinton’s latest attack on Trump is not very subtle. It’s KKK members saying they support Donald Trump and the insinuation he supports them back. The clip ends with the suggestion “If Trump wins, they could be running the country.” Hillary tweeted out the ad this morning:
There's a reason the most hateful fringe of the right wing is supporting Donald Trump.https://t.co/AqB3DM2m0N
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 25, 2016
A couple points on this. First, after interviewing a KKK member there’s a shot of Trump raising his arm to acknowledge a crowd somewhere. That’s followed by a shot of a man in a crowd raising his arm toward the stage. Here’s the image of Trump:
Maybe that was the only image they could find of Trump, i.e. one with his right arm raised. I think it’s more likely this is an intentional and very dishonest visual reference by the Clinton campaign to the infamous Nazi salute. In the context of this clip, it’s hard to believe that series of images just happened by accident. And of course the text on the screen says Trump “supports them,” i.e. the KKK. This is pure campaign sleaze.
It’s also pretty hypocritical for a campaign that has criticized Trump for running on fear and presenting a dystopian vision of the country. This clip is pure fear-mongering and is presenting a future America run by the KKK! It’s the racial equivalent of the Daisy ad warning of nuclear war if the other guy is elected.
That said, Trump’s bumbling of a question about David Duke was a low point of his campaign. It was obviously coming back in an ad at some point and here it is. Trump had disavowed Duke before that interview with Jake Tapper and did so several times afterwards. The CNN interview was a definite head-scratching moment but it’s not as if Trump has left his feelings about Duke an open question. He disavowed the man.
We’ve certainly come a long way since 2008. Back then the media considered it something of an outrage when Sarah Palin suggested Barack Obama had been palling around with terrorists in Chicago. That was a reference, of course, to Obama’s much more personal connection to homegrown terrorist Bill Ayers. Ayers helped launch Obama’s political career with a fundraiser at his house. They served on a board together and various boards Obama sat on committed over $2 million to Ayers’ small schools initiatives.
CNN host Chris Cuomo interviewed Bill Ayers about his personal relationship with Obama and Ayers said, “I don’t really agree with your premise that this is worth, somehow this is worth really exploring because I don’t buy the idea that guilt by association should be any part of our politics.”
A lot of Obama’s supporters were very much against guilt by association at the time, even when the association was an actual one that involved a professional acquaintance (at a minimum). I suspect all of that will now be out the window in the rush to connect Trump to KKK members he’s never met.