Last night, President Trump used a nationally-televised debate as a stage to wage war on the integrity of our electoral process, to excuse white nationalist violence and to openly embrace the far-right, extremist “Proud Boys” militia group. He made absolutely clear that he and his supporters pose a severe, unprecedented threat to American democracy and to the safety of all Americans who oppose him — including the large majority of American Jews.
When asked point blank to condemn white supremacists and militia groups, Trump didn’t just fail to condemn them — he publicly issued instructions to his “Proud Boys” supporters to “stand back and stand by.” He provided justification for far-right vigilante street violence. Again and again he promoted lies and conspiracy theories claiming that the election would somehow be rigged against him. He incited his supporters to go into and monitor polling places on election day — a blatantly illegal intimidation tactic that could lead to chaos and violence.
The President of the United States has now publicly aligned himself with an SPLC-designated hate group, whose former member — Jason Kessler — helped organize the infamous “Unite the Right” Charlottesville rally in which white nationalists chanted “Jews will not replace us” and protester Heather Heyer was murdered. Trump has unambiguously indicated that he prefers to disrupt the election itself — and to deny the results — than to accept defeat and peacefully leave office.
In this moment of peril, J Street will work with our coalition partners in the Jewish community and beyond — including the Save the Vote campaign — to help get out the vote and defend our democracy. We will continue to do all that we can to help Vice President Joe Biden win a free and fair election — and to be duly inaugurated. We urge all responsible leaders in the American Jewish community and throughout the country to fully recognize and actively confront the terrible threat that we are facing — before it’s too late.