Following Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the country, the White House issued a statement on Tuesday that could halt Trump’s path to the presidency.
“What he said is disqualifying,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated at a press briefing. “And any Republican who’s too fearful of the Republican base to admit it has no business serving as president either.”
Social media responded to the announcement with #TrumpIsDisqualifiedParty, which began trending later that afternoon.
— Kevin Dale (@KDNeverStops) December 8, 2015
— Charles Wade (@akacharleswade) December 8, 2015
Others expressed disappointment that the White House’s official statement, while condemning, did not, in fact, disqualify Trump.
— Michelle (@deadpotters) December 8, 2015
— can u not (@sassytbh) December 9, 2015
Trump’s recent comments build off of the candidate’s consistent Islamophobic, racist, and xenophobic pandering in the months since he announced his candidacy in June. In his quest to “make America great again” over the past six months, Trump has derided Mexican immigrants, calling them “rapists” and “criminals”; and, in the wake of the attacks in Paris, has endorsed increased surveillance of Muslims, including creating a national registry.
Leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties have criticized the turn the Trump campaign has taken, going so far has call his actions fascist.
Max Reboot, an advisor to Republican candidate Marc Rubio, tweeted on November 22, “Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned.”
Trump is a fascist. And that's not a term I use loosely or often. But he's earned it. https://t.co/KSfADd5Ycq
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) November 22, 2015
Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley accused Trump as “running for President as a fascist demagogue.”
.@realdonaldtrump removes all doubt: he is running for President as a fascist demagogue.
— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) December 7, 2015
It is possible to treat Trump’s statements as empty rhetoric, but his ideas have been used to embolden actual violence. In August, two brothers, Scott and Steve Leader, urinated on and beat up a homeless Mexican citizen, and, according to CBS News, following the arrest, Scott told officers “Trump was right.” In November, a Black Lives Matter activist was beaten up at a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. When Trump was asked about his thought on the situation, he responded “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”
Democracy does not require unanimity, but if its integrity is to maintained, there must be space made to allow difference. As Trump continues to use difference as a weapon to wield on his way to the Oval Office, it may be necessary to ask what price we are all, regardless of party affiliation, willing to pay to entertain Trump as a viable candidate.