While President Donald Trump was basking in adulation last Saturday in a campaign stop in Melbourne, Fla., he was being denounced by New York Times
columnist Charles Blow in Cleveland.
Blow told about 300 people in an approximately 40-minute speech at the Cleveland Public Library that he respects the presidency, but not the president.
“He’s is an aberration and an abomination who is willing to do and say anything no matter who it aligns him with to satisfy his ambitions,” Blow said. “I don’t believe he cares much at all about this country, or his party, or the American people. I believe he only cares about self-aggrandizement and self-delusion.”
Trump has many media critics, but Blow, a Times
columnist since 2008, has been particularly vociferous. Blow described Trump as the “toddler-in-chief” and a “pathological liar” whose lies “usher forth like water from a hose.”
But Blow’s criticism goes beyond economic, environmental, educational and foreign policy differences. He said Trump’s authoritarian, anti-intellectual leadership represents a “clear and present danger” to democracy by demonizing the media and his political opponents.
“We have elected a misogynist, a bigot, and a demi-fascist,” Blow said. “There is no way to make supporting him feel like an act of principle or responsibility. You cannot make it right. You can’t say yes to Trump and yes to common decency.”
In labeling Trump a bigot, Blow recalled Trump’s call for the execution of “The Central Park Five” the five black and Latino teenagers accused of assaulting and raping a white woman jogging in Central Park in 1989. DNA evidence later exonerated the men and they received a $40 million settlement from the city of New York in 2014. Nonetheless, Blow noted Trump still refused to apologize for calling for their deaths and criticized the settlement.
Trump was also accused of racism during the presidential campaign. Trump said Mexico was sending drug runners and rapists across the border. He said a Mexican-American judge overseeing the fraud case against Trump University – Trump agreed to a $25 million settlement in November – was biased against him because of his Mexican ancestry. Trump also repeatedly retweeted tweets from a white supremacist website during the campaign.
In calling Trump a misogynist, Blow cited Trump’s 2005 taped comments — revealed last October — bragging about groping women. Multiple women came forward after the revelation to accuse Trump of groping them.
Blow said Trump is the “natural and predictable endpoint” of the Republican Party’s anti-government agenda, extreme opposition to President Obama, and embrace of Christian zealots.
“Trump has fundamentally altered American politics. He has coarsened them. He has corrupted them. He may even crater them,” Blow said. “We stand at the at the precipice staring into the abyss that grows darker by the day.”
Blow was frequently applauded during his speech and during a question-and-answer session after his remarks. Among the audience was Cleveland resident the Rev. Jawanza Colvin who brought his 13-year-old son Asher Colvin.
The elder Colvin said after the speech that Blow is one of the most eloquent Trump critics and his words are essential to those opposing Trump.
“We need an intellectual insurgency,” Colvin said. “Because clearly by the vote that we saw that came down in the election, far too many people are not engaged in critical thinking and critical questioning of what going on in our country.”
Blow said he has spent his life speaking up for persecuted minorities and that minorities such as Latinos, Muslims, as well as gay and transgender people are under threat from Trump’s administration. The 46-year-old Blow in 2014 revealed he was sexually assaulted as a 7-year-old by a family member while growing up in Louisiana and also revealed he is bisexual.
While intolerance has increased under Trump, so has resistance to him. Blow cited town hall demonstrations and the Jan. 21. Women’s March in Washington D.C. and around the nation as good examples. In closing, Blow said resistance is an act of patriotism.
“You may be out of power, but you are not powerless,” Blow said. “It is time for America to stand up, and get loud, and fight back.”