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  • Writer's pictureRabbi Michael Barclay

President Trump should denounce the 'Groypers'

I have never been blessed to spend personal time with President Trump, but every person I know who has spent any time with him says the exact same thing: that Trump is actually a good man who deeply cares about the well-being of this nation. I don’t know his personal religious convictions, but he has been the best President for Israel and Jewish Americans in history. Whatever his private feelings, his actions show that he is a man who seeks a country of peace and prosperity for all Americans—in short, the exact opposite of who Biden shows himself to be every day.

While Trump’s actions have repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to the American values of liberty for all, he has a challenge: he has supporters, many with loud voices, who are dedicated to the exact opposite. Trump needs to decide between following an ethical path of condemning their actions and possibly losing their votes; or not risk offending these hate mongers by giving their bile a tacit approval. It is a decision that must be made for both the soul of this country, and for his own personal soul’s wellbeing. It is a decision that must be based in values as well as strategies.

The nation is now brutally aware of the hate that comes from the left. The illegal domestic terrorism we have seen on college campuses in the last weeks has made their hate clear for all to see. Their virulent hate of Jews, devout Christians, whites, conservatives, heterosexuals, religion, capitalism, freedom, and American values has now been fully revealed. The left’s inability to disagree without being disagreeable is antithetical to the core principles of this country, and President Trump has consistently spoken and acted against the left’s hatred.

But there is a hatred from the right that is just as ugly, and to which the President has been too quiet about: that which comes from the likes of Kanye West, Jake Shields, and from many celebrities and “influencers” in their respective orbits. Perhaps the archetypal example of this kind of “influencer” is the mentally unstable, emotionally immature, and psychologically unbalanced Nick Fuentes and his followers, who call themselves “groypers.” These are the very same sorts of people who (like the Nazi youth did with Hitler’s encouragement) blame their own failures in life on a different culture, race, and religion because a look in the mirror is too painful.

In the America of the past, where respectful disagreement through intelligent dialogue was the norm, these crazies would have been unapologetically rejected. They would have been forced into the outskirts of society, considered a fringe element, and entirely spurned by any politician who wanted to get elected. They would have been seen not as thoughtful leaders, but as ignorant self-promoters who would be ostracized. But in today’s upside-down social media world, where thoughtful leaders (like President Trump) are tarred as racists, and bigots with fashionable politics (like the campus Hamas protesters) are treated as moral arbiters, to say nothing of the endless war for clicks, these sorts of “influencers” have profited from confusion and controversy to become far more dangerous than they should be. Which makes the decision that Trump has to make all the more difficult, especially given that it is a necessity for the survival of this nation that Biden and the Democrats are defeated in November.

I suspect that Trump has the same disdain that any sensible person has for Fuentes, Shields, and those who emulate their words. However, he is no doubt concerned that if he publicly castigates them for their hate and ignorance, he might lose their bloc of votes. His strategists have probably been carefully evaluating how many votes would be lost if he distanced himself from them versus how many moderate voters might be gained, and how that equation would be played out, especially in swing states. This is an important factor that should be part of the decision-making process, but it should not be the only factor.

Martin Luther King Jr. famously said that “religion is not the master or servant of the state, it is to be the conscience of the state” …the “guide and the critic” of the state. Therefore, as a religious leader I appeal to the Trump team to act based upon ethics. To distance the President from this vile subaltern by denouncing their comments. It is the morally right thing to do, and I believe that President Trump knows that.

But I am not naïve; I know that the practical consideration looms large, so let me explain why this is not just the moral thing to do, but also the practical thing to do: Yes, if Trump condemns these vile people, many swing voters (particularly those who are Jewish or sympathetic to Israel) will flock to Trump, especially given the recent outlandish and extremist actions taken by Biden. The fact that even large Democratic donor Haim Saban has publicly chastised Biden for Biden’s recent anti-Israel actions (Saban raised over 4 million dollars in one night for Biden in 2020) is a giant example of just how far Biden has pushed away the moderates of his party with his recent anti-Israel and pro-Hamas actions. He has betrayed Israel in so many ways:  pressuring Israel to accept a horrendous ceasefire deal that would keep Hamas in power, not even ensure the release of live hostages, and would undoubtedly lead to more Hamas attacks like October 7.

Biden has consciously attempted to critically damage our only ally in the region by withholding Congressionally approved weapons to Israel; attempting to dictate to Israel how they should defend themselves; attempting a coup on Netanyahu by publicly castigating Bibi and supporting other Israeli politicians (despite the fact that Israeli polls consistently keep seeing Bibi’s popularity rising); and most recently, by trying to blackmail Israel by offering American intelligence on where Hamas leaders are, but only if Israel withdraws from Gaza. What kind of an “ally” withholds that type of crucial information, especially given that Hamas has vowed to not only destroy Israel, but pledged to destroy the United States as well in favor of creating a worldwide Islamic caliphate?

Moderate and independent voters, including the Jewish voting bloc, see Biden’s actions for what they are: a shameless attempt to pander to the far left by sacrificing Israel in hope of more votes in the swing state of Michigan. They see his betrayal of Israel as a betrayal of the United States, as these moderates recognize Hamas (and radical Islamic terror, in general) as a danger not just to Israel, but to the entire Western world. This voting bloc of moderates, independents, Jews, Christians, and more will not bring themselves to vote for Biden, as they realize that he has no ethics or values, and voting for Biden is a vote for their own demise.

But as of right now, neither will they vote for President Trump. And to be fair, that is not entirely his fault: these people have been gaslit relentlessly by the media about Trump’s supposed “racism.” Many of them still believe the Charlottesville hoax and anti-Trump propaganda like it. Many of their families have been devoted Democrats for decades, and it takes personal courage to change their familial patterns.

But the biggest reason that many of this bloc are not willing to support Trump (yet) is not because of a lying media, but because they believe that President Trump is willing to tacitly accept (and even encourage) the support of people like Fuentes, especially considering the unfortunate fact that President Trump sat at a private dinner table with Fuentes himself, and allowed photos to be taken of that event. No, I don’t think this was intentional; I believe President Trump that he had no idea who Fuentes was, and that he simply accepted him as a guest of Kanye West, who was apparently a friend of President Trump’s for years. But these voters aren’t interested in that kind of nuance: for them, if Trump is not willing to clearly and vocally disavow the hate filled comments that West, Fuentes, et al. have repeated ad nauseam, he may as well be one of them. Arguments that they are fringe elements who a former President shouldn’t dignify are completely irrelevant here; Trump had dinner with these people. If they can break bread with him, they are big enough for him to denounce. Period.

All of which is to say that, by publicly condemning these people, Trump gains something back which he should never have bestowed on them to begin with: legitimacy. Specifically, legitimacy with the very large bloc of voters who are disgusted by Biden and can be brought into the Trump and Republican camp. By blatantly and passionately rejecting those haters, Trump would be clearly contradicting the left’s propaganda of Trump as a racist and anti-Semite, allowing for those voters displaced by Biden to join the Trump camp.  The upside of doing this could be significant, not just in votes but in financial support for a Republican party led by Donald Trump.

And the downside? What downside? Are the groypers going to vote for Biden? Never. They'd rather die. They are a captive audience for Trump, for the same reason that communists had no choice but to vote even for anticommunist Democrats like John F. Kennedy; because the alternative is openly hostile to everyone on the Right, crazy or not. Oh yes, they will grumble, post on social media, and condemn Trump as a “sell-out”, but so what? Actually, if some of them switch to Biden, so what? Let him explain why his party’s position on Israel suddenly attracted neo-Nazis; it’ll be comedy gold. In other words, by publicly and clearly rejecting these extremists; the former president has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

There is another strategic advantage that shunning these loons also creates, and it is important not only for the election, but for Trump’s upcoming presidency and the future of the nation. We need to look at the progression of the Democratic Party over the last 6 years as a cautionary tale.

When AOC and her cohorts in “the squad” got elected in 2018, the Democratic Party destroyed itself.  These few very loud Congresswomen, who collectively only represented 2 million people, took control of the Democratic Party, and as a result, the nation. Together, they represent less than one percent of this country, yet their political influence has determined the fate of this nation since their election. Loud, offensive, and aggressive; these extremists hijacked both their political party and the country. Like spoiled children, the more their temper tantrums were rewarded by Pelosi, Schumer, and the Democratic leadership, the more obnoxious they became and the more they increased their demands. In the same way that an immature child who gets their way just gets more problematic, these squad members just kept increasing their threats and demands. And in capitulating to them, the Democrats destroyed their party and the United States.

The extremists like Fuentes are simply Tlaib, Pressley, and the Squad, but in Klan hoods instead of Kente cloth. They are the mirror reflection of each other, and equally as childlike. If President Trump does not clearly reject them, they will take credit for his election. Like the Squad, they will make demands and threats. Like the squad, their collective followings are cumulatively less than one percent of the populace. They will be a huge thorn in the side of Trump’s Presidency, and cause dissent and destruction in this country.

Every parent knows that petulant children need to be corrected early, because the longer their behavior continues, the worse it becomes for everyone. Had the Democrats not succumbed to the obnoxiousness of the squad in 2018, it would have benefitted the party and the country. The abandonment of Israel would not have happened; the BLM riots would have been stopped early on and not have grown into the devastation they created; and college campuses and law enforcement would never have allowed illegal domestic terrorists to create encampments. We need to learn from the Democrats’ mistakes. Trump, like a wise parent, needs to put clear boundaries on all of these “influencer” extremists who are similar to Fuentes. 

In doing so, he will be following an ethical path that will lead to even greater success.

Over 49% of American voters now identify as “independent”. They are not committed to a party, but to issues and individual candidates. In 2020, Biden won those voters 52% to 43%.  Over 3.5 million Jews voted for Biden in 2020. Many of those who voted for Biden will be hesitant to vote for him again as a result of his bad decisions, mental disabilities, and most recent action regarding Hamas and Israel.

How many of those voters, which dwarf the collective amount of the followers of Fuentes and influencers like him, would become Trump supporters upon the President ostracizing the extremists? How many of that voting bloc would abandon the Democrats and switch to Trump (and Republicans down the ticket) if the President shunned the loud voices of those losers and demonstrated his commitment to doing the right thing:  the exact opposite of Biden? Wouldn’t it be fabulous if on November 6, the day after the election, we learned that much of that more “moderate” vote had voted for Donald Trump, and that he won in a landslide?

President Trump needs to distance himself from the words and actions of the groypers and their celebrity influencers (again, he will nonetheless still get their votes), and make clear statements condemning their philosophies. It is both the ethical and the strategic thing to do; and the best way of not only winning the election, but of saving our country from the extremists who would make it in their own ugly image.

Instead, may the country grow great again, and may the tantrums of all overgrown children – whether on-campus or online – be stilled by the policies, practices, and words of wiser adults, including President Trump.

Read Article at HUMAN EVENTS


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