Updated Aug 9, 2019

Trump allies welcome "white supremacist" charge from 2020 Democrats

Joe Biden works the Iowa State Fair yesterday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump campaign officials and sources close to the president tell Axios that they believe Democrats' extraordinary charge that the president is a "white supremacist" will actually help him win in 2020.

Why it matters: These Trump allies tell us that the claim by Democratic opponents is not only emboldening his base, but also alienating some mainstream Republicans who think Democrats have gone too far.

At least six Democratic presidential contenders have called President Trump a white supremacist, and several others are suggesting the same.

  • A Trump campaign official said: "They’re trying to make the case that anyone who supports this president is a racist. They’re talking about [nearly] half the country."

The state of play: Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Beto O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg, have all publicly called the president a white supremacist since Saturday's El Paso massacre.

  • Buttigieg said yesterday, when Axios' Alexi McCammond asked him — at a National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) forum in Miami — if he thinks Trump is a white supremacist: "Yes, I do. At best, he’s emboldening people with that intention."
  • Joe Biden told reporters in Iowa yesterday: "Everything the president says encourages white supremacy, and I’m not sure there is much of a distinction." But he didn't explicitly label Trump a white supremacist.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris' campaign told Axios that Harris has "spoken out and called out Trump, who she’s said has coddled and emboldened white supremacy." But the campaign wouldn't go so far as using the label.
  • Andrew Yang told Axios that, "based on his actions and words, yes I do [think he is a white supremacist]. If he’s not a white supremacist, he’s done a phenomenal job making it seem like he is."

The bottom line: You can't overstate the danger of white supremacy. Think about the insanity of our times that allies of the president are gleeful about this.

  • Merriam-Webster defines a white supremacist as: "a person who believes that the white race is inherently superior to other races and that white people should have control over people of other races."

Go deeper ... 2020 Democrats: Trump is a white supremacist

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Biden: Racism in the U.S. is a white man’s problem

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at the Iowa Federation Labor Convention on Aug. 21. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that racism in the U.S. is "overwhelmingly a white man’s problem visited on people of color" as he criticized President Trump over the racial divide, USA Today reports.

What presidents say matter … They can make markets rise and fall. They can send people to war. They can, in fact, also appeal to the worst damn instincts of human nature."
— Biden's remarks to reporters, according to USA Today
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New culture war: The meaning of white privilege

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"White privilege" has become a common phrase in Americans' conversations about race — and that's unsettling many white Americans because they think it undervalues their struggles or questions the legitimacy of their successes.

Why it matters: The term is a new weapon — and fault line — in American culture and politics. It’s one of a growing list of phrases different sides view very differently. 

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Kamala Harris: Trump's immigration raids are part of a "campaign of terror"

2020 candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that President Trump's immigration raids are part of a "campaign of terror" to make whole populations of Hispanic Americans "afraid."

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