During an interview at the Book Expo in New York City, Hillary Clinton described a new sense of racial animosity in the country since the election of Donald Trump as President. At the Javitz Convention Center, the location where she expected to give her victory speech as the new President, Clinton said in terms that were not mistaken by her interviewer, author Cheryl Strayed, that supporters of Donald Trump were comparable to the Portland stabber who killed two men who came to the aid of a Muslim girl who he was harassing. She then compared them to Serbians who massacred Muslim civilians during the Bosnian War, and then compared them to Rwanda's Hutus who committed genocide against the country's minority Tutsis.
Clinton said she supports the basis of reason from the Enlightenment that inspired the country's founding fathers and insinuated that supporters of Trump have no reason.
“I’m still sickened by what happened in Portland with those two young men coming to the rescue of those young women who were being insulted and verbally abused by the white supremacist on the train and when they attempted to reason with this man to intervene, he killed them both and he wounded a third man who tried also to speak up,” said Clinton in describing a double murder that occurred on May 26.
The man who is alleged to have committed the crimes is a declared supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) -- who ran against Clinton -- and linked his Twitter page to radical and anarchist causes. The alleged perpetrator, Jeremy Christian, is a transient and former felon who has spent time in jail for weapons offenses. In court on Tuesday, he ranted "Get out if you don't like free speech. You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism. You hear me? Die!" Christian, following the commission of a robbery in 2002, survived being shot in the head by a police officer who fired in self-defense. Before the stabbing event, he was seen on CCTV drinking what was apparently sangria wine from a bag.
While Christian has been dubbed a white supremacist and Islamophobe, he shouted during the affray on Friday: “F**k Christians, f**k Jews, f**k Muslims!” On his Facebook page, he called for a “Monotheist Holocaust,” the “Final Solution to the Monotheist Question,” writing that he wants to “put an end to the Monotheist Question. All Zionist Jews, All Christians who do not follow Christ’s teaching of Love, Charity, and Forgiveness And All Jihadi Muslims are going to Madagascar or the Ovens/FEMA Camps!!!” In another post, he wrote, “I want a job in Norway cutting off the heads of people that Circumsize Babies…Like if you agree!!!” The Council on American Islamic Relations called on President Trump to condemn the incident and denounce terrorism against Muslims.
At the book expo, Clinton continued, saying “...that’s not the only incident that we have seen where all of a sudden it appears that their attitudes and feelings are bursting through the veneer of civilization.”
“What I saw in this election was a deliberate effort to blow the top off of that to basically say whatever feeling you have, whatever resentment, however angry you might be, get out there and express it and it’s okay to take it out on other people, verbally or physically, as we saw during the campaign. That is incredibly dangerous. That is unleashing a level of vitriol and defensiveness, hatred, that I don’t think we should tolerate,” said the former secretary of state who, at this point, was interrupted by applause from the audience.
Speaking to her experience of traveling the world to represent the country as First Lady, senator, and secretary of state, Clinton said, “...I will tell you it doesn’t take much to rip off the politeness and the accommodation that really keeps diverse peoples working and living together. We saw where it was deliberately intended to inflame neighbor against neighbor. We saw it in Rwanda. I’ve seen it in many other places where political leaders for their own purposes, their own power, greed, ideology, religion, whatever it might be, really light those flames and that there is always kindling there. There are always people who are nursing a grievance, who feel that there were not treated right. They think somebody’s getting ahead and they see the world as a zero-sum game.”
Recalling that she returned to her alma mater to give a commencement speech at Wellesley College, she said “I told them I think we are living in a time where there’s an elaborate assault on truth and reason. I think the Enlightenment was a pretty good deal and it helped to provide the intellectual and philosophical underpinnings of our founders. I still believe that we are the greatest man-made invention in the history of the world and we can’t give up on that and we can’t get discouraged. We have to figure out ways we are going to keep going. We, I think, have done a lot in the last centuries to deal with some of the intractable problems, not just on race, in sexism and ethnicity and religion, but also what’s an appropriate way of treating a fellow person?”
Strayed interrupted, saying "You know, I think that phrase 'people of reason' is one I hunger for. I think I've never been so nostalgic for so many Republicans in my life as I am now because that is what we are missing out on.” Strayed is the author of a bestselling memoir, “Wild,” which became a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.