Leftist reporters and commentators have been tagging the “Make America Great Again” slogan of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as bigoted and hateful virtually since his candidacy began. Somehow, even though many of them surely recall it without having to do any research, they’ve managed to fail to note that Bill Clinton used those very words in 2008 to promote his wife Hillary’s presidential candidacy against then-Illinois Senator Barack Obama. Clinton himself characterized Trump’s slogan as racist earlier this week, even though he also used that exact phrase on at least four occasions to promote his own presidential candidacy in 1992.
Leave it the Fox News’s Juan Williams, who has now admitted that he’s among those who recalls Bill Clinton’s past use of the phrase, to try to pathetically excuse all of this hypocrisy based on “context.” In a Friday morning appearance on the network’s America’s Newsroom, host Bill Hemmer and former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown were having none of it.
In the video segment below, Hemmer let Williams spew for a bit, and then forced him to admit that when he first heard Trump’s use of the slogan, he didn’t consider it racist or hateful. Brown then noted that the slogan is far superior to the one Hillary Clinton’s campaign is using:
Transcript (bolds are mine):
(Past Bill Clinton clips from 1992 and 2008)
BILL CLINTON (1992): “I believe that together we can make American great again.”
BILL CLINTON (1992): “to secure a better future for your children and your grandchildren and to make America great again.”
BILL CLINTON (1992): “I want to attack these problems and make America great again.”
BILL CLINTON (2008, promoting Hillary Clinton’s first presidential candidacy): “It’s time for another comeback, time to make America great again.”
(End previous clips)
BILL HEMMER: Wow. Juan, um, did you see that as racist, “make America great again”?
JUAN WILLIAMS: It’s comes — you know, you have to, of course, put it in the context. I mean, part of this is I think people who are Trump supporters say, “Hey, Bill Clinton used the same language back in ‘08 when he was campaigning for Hillary Clinton.” But again, I think it’s context. When you hear this coming from Trump, given his anti-immigrant stance, his anti-free trade stance, isolationist, the way he’s talked about women, always going back to like a 1950s framework, especially with all the racial baggage, the fact that he’s excited the bigots in America who support him. It has a lot of very unpleasant tones.
HEMMER: But I’m asking you specifically, Juan.
HEMMER: I’m not expanding the definition here, as you just did.
HEMMER: When you first heard that slogan from Donald Trump, did you think that was racist?
WILLIAMS: Oh, if you’re asking me, you know, in isolation, no. I don’t think in isolation, because I heard it from Clinton back in ’08. I didn’t think it was racist.
HEMMER: And you remember that.
Senator, I mean, is he on to something? Are we, are we missing something here?
SCOTT BROWN: No, you’re not missing anything. It’s two sets of rules, one for the Clintons, and one for everybody else. It’s all right for Bill and Hillary Clinton to use it years ago, but when Trump and our nominee actually talks about it, it’s racist. It’s another effort to divide the country.
And as an American, I can tell you in the Northeast, people believe that. Because the last 8 years, people are not feeling as, as powerful and as good about America and our standing in the economy, and our standing when it deals with our foreign policy and national security.
And “Make America Great” I think is a wonderful slogan. “I’m With Her”? I think they’re probably a little upset that they didn’t grab this slogan before he did.
Please note that Williams has admitted that he was among those who remembers Bill Clinton saying “Make America great again,” and has stood by while fellow leftists — including Bill Clinton a few days ago — criticized the phrase as inherently bigoted. The Clintons even used that phrase in 2008 as Mrs. Clinton ran against a “person of color.” What does that make them?
Going back further, Ronald Reagan used those words frequently during his 1980 presidential campaign. Though the left tried to smear Reagan and his policy proposals as racist — ironic, given that the Gipper, while he was President, visited and made friends with a black couple in 1982 when there was a cross-burning on their property’s lawn — it never tried to claim that “make American great again” was an inherently racist phrase.
But now archived video and audio, with the former president’s timely and strategically foolish nudge, have brought out the fact that “Make American great again” has been in Bill Clinton’s political vocabulary without any form of rebuke for a quarter-century. Juan Williams’s attempt at a “context”-based excuse for criticizing the slogan will surely be adopted by others. The proper response should be uproarious laughter.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.