ADL ‘troubled’ by Trump’s reluctance to denounce Alt-Right

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt welcomed President Donald Trump’s public denunciation of white supremacists and neo-Nazis on Monday but cautioned that Trump’s statements “are no longer sufficient.”

During a press call moments after the President singled out the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists as “repugnant,” Greenblatt criticized Trump for sending a message to “white supremacists and extremists rallying around his rhetoric” and for “his unwillingness to consistently and forcefully denounce their behavior.”

“This was not a subtle dog whistle, but like a bullhorn and a signal for them to try and rise and take a seat at the center of the public conversation,” the head of the Anti-Defamation League empathized.

Pointing to several incidents in the past, Greenblatt suggested that Trump’s “many sides” comments on Saturday, demonstrated a pattern. “We have seen a pattern of the President equivocating in the face of intolerance, and an unwillingness to call out white supremacists, to name neo-Nazis, or to attack the alt-right,” Greenblatt told Jewish Insider. “Let’s just say it’s hard to understand what his intentions are. I can’t discern what’s in his head or in his heart. At the ADL, we can only deal with the impact. And the impact is, an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents. The impact is an increased tempo of white supremacist activity across the country. The impact is as we saw this weekend, unbridled violence from the worst elements of society. And so we find it very troubling that it has taken so long and it has been a serial issue.”

Greenblatt called for a bipartisan approach to address the issue. “I think we know that members of Congress care about this issue, these few men speak up again and again. I think it’s a good opportunity for them to work together to take action,” he said. “That could be, again directing federal agencies to do things, it could be directing the President to announce a new White House coordinator for fighting hate. As we’ve seen with previous administrations, it’s appropriate to elevate priorities with new dedicated personnel. Now again, if he can’t do it, then I think it’s possible that the Congress could appoint someone to this sort of role.”

The ADL chief also suggested that Congress work on federal-level legislation to protect students from religious harassment and discrimination on college campuses, particularly Jewish students who increasingly find themselves to be the targets of anti-Semitism. “We’ve seen an uptick in white supremacists recruiting on college campuses,” he explained. “We’ve recorded over 160 racist flyering incidents in more than 30 states in the last academic year. Our kids need protection, that’s an area where Democrats and Republicans could work together.”

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