No one knows exactly what’s going on but we do know it isn’t good. In the days since Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States, there has been a flood of reports about women and minorities, particularly, Muslims, being harassed by individuals using the banner of Trump as their green light to commit hate crimes.
And while Donald Trump bears much of the blame for this new “normal” in America, he’s finally speaking out against it. During his first interview since winning the election, he told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that such incidents are “horrible” and offered a plain message to those behind them.
“I am very surprised to hear that and I hate to hear that,” he said. “I’d say don’t do it, I think it’s horrible. I am so sorry to hear it and I say stop it. And I say right to the camera, stop it.”
Some of those stories have been debunked and there have also been reports of Clinton supporters, or at least Trump opponents, committing equally horrible acts of violence against white individuals presumed to be Trump supporters.
Still, the Southern Poverty Law Center says the escalation in assaults and intimidations is real, arguing that it actually surpasses the number of reported calls they received in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Trump’s answer certainly won’t be enough for many of his critics, especially considering the last two years he spent directly, or indirectly, helping to bolster the sentiments that lead to violent acts. But it’s a start. And as the president-elect, he has an enormous power to influence the behavior of others. Unfortunately, he also was quick to deflect blame and tried to put that responsibility on the media.
“I think it’s horrible if that’s happening. I think it’s built up by the press because frankly they’ll take every single little incident that they can find in this country, which could have been around even if I weren’t around doing this, and they’ll make it into an event,” he said.
So there you go. One step forward and two steps back. But even from the man behind the movement itself, the message is clear: if you’ve committed an act of hate or are even thinking about it, stop.