President Donald Trump is shrugging off concerns within his party over his divisive rhetoric and is convinced that stoking the grievances of his white core voters will see him reelected in November, the Washington Post reported Saturday.
In recent weeks there has been growing alarm within Trump’s reelection campaign and in the Republican party about national and swing-state polls showing Trump crashing to defeat to his Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden in November.
Some advisers are reportedly urging the president to tone down his rhetoric, and reach out to independent and suburban voters repelled by his response to the George Floyd anti-racism protests.
But Trump reportedly believes that “following his own instincts on race and channeling the grievances of his core base of white voters” will see him beat Biden in November, a White House official and outside adviser to the president, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the publication.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
Trump’s allies told the publication the president is not racist, but attentive to core supporters.
Armstrong Williams, an adviser to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, said: “He doesn’t see the implications of his tweets in the way that his critics do. He just loves his supporters.”
Trump departed from the message of unity presidents usually deliver to the nation on Independence Day, and in a speech at Mount Rushmore Saturday painted a bleak picture of an America imperiled from within by far-left extremists determined to tear down America’s history and heritage.
“Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities,” Trump said. “They think the American people are weak and soft and submissive.”
He also, in the speech, affirmed the equality of all Americans, regardless of race.
“We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child of every color, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of God.” — @realDonaldTrump last night at Mount Rushmore pic.twitter.com/dIrwpZ2ngw
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) July 4, 2020
During the anti-racism protests, led by the Black Lives Matter movement, that have swept America since Floyd’s death, demonstrators have targeted statues and other monuments associated with and racial oppression. Many honor figures from the slave-owning Confederacy in the US Civil War.
Trump has sought to make the issue one of the central grievances of his reelection campaign, threatening protesters involved in defacing monuments with tough jail terms.
He has also made little attempt to reach out to the millions of Americans who took part in the protests. Instead, he has turned to Twitter to spread arguably racist messages, including a video in which an elderly supporter in a Florida retirement home yelled “white power.” (The president subsequently removed the video but has not disavowed it.)
So far, polls don’t bear out the president’s apparent conviction that most Americans are hostile to the protests, with a June 28 survey by CBS News showing that a majority of Americans agree with ideas proposed by the BLM movement.