NAACP President Cornell William Brooks labeled Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign “a form of demagoguery” and connected its appeal to the history of the KKK.
“We are very clear: Trumpism as a form of demagoguery is inconsistent with the values of the NAACP and inconsistent with the values of this country,” he said at a National Press Club event.
Brooks then mentioned the “resurgence” of the KKK in the 1920s.
“It came into power in 1920, grew massively in numbers with this toxic mix of a public appeal – a kind of unpatriotic or un-American patriotism and, number one, a kind of thin Christianity and a virulent anti-immigrant sentiment,” he said. “Fast forward to 2016, we have Americans who find themselves in the throes of economic anxiety and economic insecurity in the wake of a rising tide of income inequality. There being an appeal to – on the basis of anti-immigrant campaign appeal – otherization.”
Trump brought a legal immigrant from the audience on stage at a campaign rally on March 13 and said, “People are going to come in to our country — we want them to come in, but they’ve got to come in like you: legally.”
Trump also let the man speak to the crowd.
“I’m here because the media does not separate legal immigration from illegal [immigration]. People spill out their guts to come here legally and it’s just really a shame that they give it a bad name,” he told the rally.
Brooks said the NAACP is most concerned about the message of Trump’s immigration stance and less about his personality.
“What we are most concerned about is this anti-immigrant appeal, this otherization tone and tenor particularly at a moment when we see the diversification and expansion of the American electorate,” he said.
Citing the NAACP’s past voter registration efforts, Brooks said the NAACP is committed to “maximizing the vote” in 2016.
“We don’t argue or campaign for any candidate of either party but we do campaign against any effort to make any citizen feel less than a citizen and less than a member of this democracy – that is our position – that’s who we are,” he said.
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