Presidential historian Michael Beschloss lamented that the flare-ups are “a new disheartening sign of a country that is becoming more divided by the hour. It is almost beginning to sound like some of the things that happened before the Civil War… it’s a polarized country. But it is an extremely polarizing president.”
Former Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello, who lost his 2010 reelection in Virginia and was an unsuccessful candidate for governor last year, said the atmosphere was more toxic eight years ago for elected officials, many of whom were subject to death threats. He said today, however, Trump is to blame for the coarsening of public discourse and for “having torn up and jumped on so many social and political norms.”
“What we’re dealing with is an administration taking positions so extreme and dehumanizing that it’s almost required in polite society to distance yourself from people tearing families apart,” said Perriello, pointing to a POLITICO Magazine article about the social struggles of young Trump officials in Washington.