Updated Aug 8, 2019

2020 Democrats: Trump is a white supremacist

Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Beto O'Rourke. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A group of 2020 Democrats have called President Trump a "white supremacist," an extraordinary charge at an extraordinary moment in American politics.

Why it matters ... This is a big shift from calling the president a white nationalist. Check out Merriam-Webster's definition of white supremacist: "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."

  • Elizabeth Warren told the New York Times "without hesitation" that Trump gave white supremacists aid and comfort. "He’s done the wink and a nod," she said. "He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He’s done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country."
  • Beto O'Rourke told MSNBC Trump made it "very clear" that he's a white supremacist.
  • Bernie Sanders told CNN's Jake Tapper over the weekend that he believes Trump is a white supremacist.

The big picture: 2020 Democrats have been driving the national conversation in the wake of last weekend's twin mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, calling for more gun restrictions and directing much of their criticism at Trump.

  • O'Rourke has been one of the most vocal anti-Trump figures since El Paso's massacre Saturday. The former Texas congressman has said previously that Trump is a "white nationalist" who encourages racism and violence in the U.S.

What he's saying: Trump denies he's racist. He told reporters Wednesday he's "concerned about the rise of any group of hate." "Whether it's white supremacy, whether it's any other kind of supremacy. Whether it's Antifa," he said, referring to the far-left, anti-fascist movement. "Whether it's any group of hate."

  • Trump later tweeted: "The Dems new weapon is actually their old weapon, one which they never cease to use when they are down, or run out of facts, RACISM! They are truly disgusting! They even used it on Nancy Pelosi. I will be putting out a list of all people who have been so (ridiculously) accused!"

What’s next: This will put pressure on other Democrats to agree with a charge not made in a generation of American politics: that their opponent, the sitting president, believes whites are the dominant race and should control other races. 

  • While former Vice President Joe Biden has not called Trump a white supremacist, he did say earlier Wednesday that the president "has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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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.

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

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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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Trump attacks Ohio politicians, Biden, Fox News after visiting shooting victims

President Trump speaks to the media as he visits the emergency operations center in El Paso. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump met with first responders and survivors of last weekend's mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, in a visit he hailed as "incredible." But it was also marked by divisive rhetoric against the media and political rivals — including local politicians.

Details: In a series of tweets after visiting victims of the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, Trump accused Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley of lying in a press conference, insulted 2020 candidate Joe Biden as "boring," and called Fox News' Shep Smith worse than "Fake News CNN."

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