Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair Keith Ellison defended his comments that President Donald Trump has shown “sympathy” to white supremacy groups and the KKK, adding that Trump must clarify his position.
CNN’s “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota asked Ellison during a Monday interview if he thought Trump was a white supremacist.
“I’m not saying he is one, I’m saying that the positions that they [white supremacists] have articulated are positions that he does not feel an urgent need to denounce and distance himself from,” Ellison responded. “And I think if that piece of evidence right there, is something that all of us have to ask ourselves why.”
Ellison’s original comment to the Washington Post was stronger and more direct than his statements in the interview. “The reason he [Trump] is reluctant to denounce white supremacy and neo-Nazis and Klan members is because he has a level of sympathy for them,” Ellison said last Tuesday.
Ellison thinks Trump should come out publicly and state what he actually believes.
“If he is not sympathetic to them the best person to clarify this is the president himself,” he told Camerota. “We’re seeing him be morally ambiguous and I think that this is something that is of serious concern.”
“If he really believes them and is a true believer, or if he is just opportunistically exploiting them to support him the net effect is people who fought the Nazis, people who fought the Klan, who are standing up for core American values, still end up getting hurt and diminished in the process,” Ellison added.
Camerota asked if Ellison agreed with a tweet from Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier that pushed to invoke the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to remove Trump and elevate Vice President Mike Pence to the Oval Office.
POTUS is showing signs of erratic behavior and mental instability that place the country in grave danger. Time to invoke the 25th Amendment.
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) August 16, 2017
Ellison didn’t give a direct answer, and instead said that Trump’s “judgement is absolutely off,” and encouraged voters who want change to seek it “at the ballot box.”
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