Former Obama aide defends Trump voters against ‘deplorable’ term, ‘they’re not racist’

TOPSHOT - Supporters hold up a t-shirts as US President Donald Trump holds a "Make America Great Again" campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, on August 1, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)
(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

While you’ll likely never hear former President Barack Hussein Obama admit it for himself, one of his erstwhile aides has finally conceded that President Donald Trump’s nearly 63 million supporters of various races and religions aren’t a bunch of mindless racists and “deplorables.”

They’re perfectly normal people — albeit allegedly “misled” people, according to former longtime Obama aide Johanna Maska, who appeared Monday on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing.”


Source: Fox News


She made her remarks while speaking on a “The Daily Briefing” panel about a point that former President Joe Biden had elucidated during a campaign event last week.

Everybody knows who Donald Trump is, and even his supporters,” he’d said. “And I’m not being critical, but some of you voted for Donald Trump because we stopped talking to you. My party stopped talking to you.”

Fact-check: MOSTLY TRUE.

While Democrats did stop talking to the president’s working-class base, that’s not all they did. They also began outright insulting and smearing them, as noted by FNC contributor AshLee Strong, who previously worked as a spokesperson and adviser to since-resigned Rep. Paul Ryan.

“[O]ver the modern history, we’ve seen — whether it’s the “deplorables” comment (by failed 2016 Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton), whether it’s comments about Americans “clinging to their religion and their guns” (by Obama) — the Democrat Party has in some cases had a history of offending and making wide generalizations about people in middle America or in the rust-belt states,” she said on “The Daily Briefing.”

“And frankly, I think Joe Biden is wise to reject that path, and I think that he’s wise to take on some of the rhetoric that President Trump used in the last election.”

It’s unclear though what she’d meant with the last sentence, given as it was Democrats who smeared Republican voters, not Republicans who smeared Democrat voters. Either she’d misspoken, or she’s as anti-Trump as her former boss was and continues to be.

It was at this point in the discussion that Maska dropped her remarks.

“You know Vice President Biden — you worked for him,” Perino said to her. “I would imagine that he was probably pretty frustrated during the 2016 campaign when Hillary Clinton said the word deplorable. It was something that he would not have said initially?”

I think for Joe Biden it’s personal because he’s from Scranton, Pennsylvania,” Maska replied. “And so when you grow up in a place where they voted for President Obama and then they voted for President Trump, you know that Trump voters are not deplorable. They are not racist, and they are not bad people. But they were misled.”

So now this is the reason we have elections every four years, so that the voters get to see if indeed President Trump has delivered on his promises.  I think absolutely that now is the time for the Democrats to be talking to all voters. No one should be off the table.

What she said about Trump voters being “misled” suggests she believes that the vast majority of the president’s 2016 voters now regret having chosen him over Clinton. The evidence suggests otherwise.

“Donald J. Trump doesn’t always seem like a candidate focused on expanding his base of support. He may have done so anyway,” The New York Times reported at the start of the month. “The share of Americans who say they have a favorable view of him has increased significantly since the 2016 election.”

“And over the last few months, some of the highest-quality public opinion polls, though not all, showed the president’s job approval rating — a different measure from personal favorability — had inched up to essentially match the highest level of his term.”

(Source: The New York Times)

If anything, the evidence appears to suggest that the president commands an even larger base now than he did when elected into office on Nov. 8, 2016.

Maska wasn’t wrong though to point out that Democrats need “to be talking to all voters.” The only problem is that Biden appears to be among a handful (if even that many) of folks on the left who’ve recognized this reality.

This week a columnist for The Washington Post called for burning down the Republican Party and its “enablers” — i.e., those who vote Republicans into office — because “[t]hese people are not fit for polite society.” Last month one of The View’s left-wing hosts called for ignoring and shunning Trump supporters because they’re “foregone.”

Meanwhile, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, both of whom are now effectively tied with Biden, have repeatedly attacked Fox News, the only right-leaning mainstream news outlet.

In May, Warren rebuked an offer to participate in a Fox-hosted town hall event and made it clears she has no interest in trying to reach the network’s Trump-supporting viewers.

That same month Sanders likewise trotted out the patronizing lie that the president’s supporters were misled — as if they’re just idiots who’re easy to fool.

“[Y]ou expand the base [by] talking to working people and young people, and we expose Trump for the fraud that he is when he said that he — when he campaigned on being a friend of the working people,” he said during an appearance on MSNBC.

“Look, Trump essentially lied to the American people who were hurting, and for too many years the Democratic leadership ignored that pain and ignored the midwest and the flyover states.”

So he wants to expand his base by talking to Trump supporters and convincing them that their president has allegedly been lying to them. It’s not clear whether this strategy will work, though it certainly beats smearing the president’s supporters as “deplorables” and “bitter clingers.”


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Vivek Saxena


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