While Democrats are trying to spread a message of racial unity during their national convention, Republicans are apparently planning for the polar opposite when they gather to nominate Donald Trump for re-election. At least, that’s what appears to be happening after at least three suspected white supremacists who are not at all active in politics were nonetheless invited to speak at the Republican National Convention (RNC) next week.
It was unclear why Republicans tapped Nick Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing teenager who found himself at the center of a racially charged confrontation with a Native American elder and Black Hebrew Israelites at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., last year. In a similar move, Republicans also asked a married couple who infamously aimed guns at Black Lives Matter protesters peacefully near their St. Louis home to deliver an address at the RNC.
Sandmann was part of a group of his fellow high school classmates visiting the nation’s capital when they showed up at the Indigenous Peoples March after attending the anti-abortion March for Life rally. Video from the incident showed Sandmann smirking and appearing to antagonize Nathan Phillips, a 64-year-old Vietnam veteran who is also Native American. The entire episode prompted former NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks to directly compare the MAGA hats being worn by the students to “What the white hood was in 1869.”
To be sure, a subsequent investigation determined there was no “evidence” ofSandmann and his classmates saying “offensive or racist comments.” However, the court of public opinion has remained begging to differ.
Sandmann sued a number of media outlets over the coverage and most recently settled with the Washington Post after filing a $250 million lawsuit. All of the above has clearly endeared him to Republicans.
And while including Sandmann speaking at the RNC may seem especially nefarious, what he did was nothing compared to Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the married couple of lawyers who brandished guns and aimed them at Black Lives Matter protesters marching peacefully past their home in St. Louis in June.
Mark McCloskey subsequently — and inexplicably — said he grabbed his AR-15 assault rifle because he was “frightened” and in “imminent fear that they would run me over, kill me, burn my house.” Aside from his words treading dangerously close to all-out racial profiling of peaceful protesters, none of the protesters had cars, were armed or tried to set anything on fire.
Still, the couple’s violent response to peaceful Black people earned them a coveted speaking spot at the RNC.
The news of those three people not only being invited but also accepting the invitations to speak at the RNC came against the backdrop of the Democratic National Convention promoting themes of diversity and inclusion at its convention being held this week.
This is America.