Lincoln captured this aspect perfectly, noting that most Americans cannot trace themselves to the founding by blood, yet when they look to the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence, to the American creed, “they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration and so they are.”
And yet today’s Republicans smear and cast doubt on the loyalty of Hill and Vindman. The Republican counsel for the House Intelligence Committee insinuated that Vindman was loyal to the Ukraine, rather than America. With no evidence at all, a commentator on Fox News suggested Vindman was a spy. Trump himself has repeatedly attacked Vindman. Vindman’s family is currently being protected because of his commander-in-chief’s smears.
While Hill was testifying, Trump supporters, noting her “Prince Andrew” accent, asked if any “Americans” were going to testify? A “Lincoln Fellow” at the Claremont Institute, asked “Why are there so many non-US born people working in our Intel and State Department.”
Such bigotry—and it is real, literal bigotry—is of a piece with Trump and the new Know Nothings. They reject the idea of there being an American creed because they—and Trump—do not understand America as an idea. Nationalism, as these people understand it, is neither civic, nor liberal.