Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on Tuesday called President-elect Donald Trump’s disavowal of the alt-right movement “not even a condemnation.”
“One thing we know about Donald Trump, he knows how to show outrage,” Dershowitz said during an appearance on “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon. “He knows how to yell and scream at the people at ‘Hamilton’ because somebody got up and made a polite reference to the Vice President[-elect]. So, considering who he is and what he’s said about other people, including at his own party, this statement that ‘I disavow’ just is nothing.”
In a meeting with editors and journalists at the New York Times headquarter in New York on Tuesday, Trump sought to distance himself from the alt-right after a video published by The Atlantic shows parts of a speech delivered by Richard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist within the alt-right movement, at the National Policy Institute’s annual conference espousing anti-Semitic rhetoric and celebrating Trump’s win.
“I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group,” Trump said. “It’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized, I want to look into it and find out why.”
But Dershowitz called the statement “worse than nothing in some ways.”
“Not only should he be showing horrible outrage, but so should (Steve) Bannon and so should Breitbart. All of them have an obligation to not only dissociate themselves and disavow but show the same kind of outrage that Breitbart has shown toward women and toward Muslims, and that Bannon has shown. You know, you have to judge people by what they have said about other people, and judge by what Trump, Breitbart, and Bannon have said about other people. This is not even a condemnation.”
According to Dershowitz, the President-elect should do what he’s done to others during the presidential election. “He’s much crueler, much tougher on people who have run against him or who have upset him, or have insulted him,” he asserted. “He knows how to be outraged. We haven’t seen that kind of outrage. And he has to say it not to the New York Times, he has to say it to his own people. He has to say it to his constituents, and he has to say to his constituents, ‘Don’t you dare glorify them or join them because if you go near them, you are not on my side.’ He can do it.”
Dershowitz echoed former ADL National Director Abe Foxman, who on Monday called for Trump to personally condemn the racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric espoused at Saturday’s white nationalist conference the same way he rebuked unpleasant comments made by the cast of ‘Hamilton’ and Saturday Night Live.
“President-elect Trump needs to specifically condemn and distance himself from the racism and anti-Semitism spewed there,” Foxman told Jewish Insider. “If he takes the time and effort to personally criticize SNL or the “Hamilton” episode, then certainly this event deserves his personal attention and voice.”
Contacted by Jewish Insider on Tuesday to follow up on Trump’s statement, Foxman said, “It was a good beginning.”
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer suggested that the media’s insistence on pressing Trump to condemn the alt-right and anti-Semitism is getting “a bit preposterous.”
“When is it going to be enough?” Spicer told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when asked if Trump was going to give a formal speech denouncing his white supremacist and neo-Nazi supporters. “He has said that he refutes that, that’s not the kind of movement he wants the support or see energized by him. That’s not the kind of people he wants to be associated with. I don’t know how many more times Donald Trump can make his position clear, but he’s been crystal-clear for a long time and over and over and over again with every tweet, utterance, you name it, Facebook post, he has to somehow respond to it. He has made his position clear. It’s time that we accept that position and move on. That’s not his focus.”