The Conservative Tribune took aim at Eric Holder for comments he made about race in a rare interview with ABC News. They found it strange that the outgoing U.S. Attorney General would talk about race while also talking about people’s resistance to Obama. As proof that Holder was merely race-baiting, they offered this:
“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” said Holder.
You know, people talking about taking their country back,” he continued. “…There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.”
And they posted video to the interview, which, if they’d actually watched, they might have realized that isn’t all of what Holder said. According to ABC News’ website, that quote, in full context, is as follows:
“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me, directed at the president…you know, people talk about taking their country back. I can’t look into people’s hearts, look into people’s minds, but it seems to me that this president has been treated differently than others.”
Then Holder was asked this question:
“Now, Al Sharpton, when you gave that speech, said that he thought it was about race. Those were his words. Are they yours?”
To which Holder replied:
“There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is a main driver, but for some, there’s a racial animus.” [emphasis Holder’s]
So there’s context that Conservative Tribune took out in order to make it sound as though Holder believes people criticizing Obama is racist. He wasn’t in any way, shape or form, saying that it’s racist to criticize the president. He was saying that he doesn’t, in fact, believe that racism is a driving factor for most people, but that for some, race might be a problem (which is true).
He is correct that Obama has been treated differently than any other president. Rush Limbaugh publicly claimed that he hoped Obama would fail, shortly after he was elected as president in 2008. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the GOP’s one goal between 2010 and 2012 was to make Obama a one-term president. Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) openly called him a liar during the 2009 State of the Union address.
He’s had to face birthers nonstop, even after releasing his long-form birth certificate in 2011 (unsurprisingly, they called that a forgery), and after doctors and other officials of Hawaii spoke about his birth. Republicans have gotten on his case for the cost of security for various excursions; something that might have passed with just a small grumble in the past, if anything at all.
And there are people who openly carry guns attending rallies where Obama himself actually spoke. Guns and presidents in open places historically do not mix.
Is that racism? Holder made it clear that he doesn’t think racism is the underlying problem here. But Conservative Tribune decided to play it otherwise, and take his words out of context so they could erroneously claim that Holder is race-baiting. Holder is right that, for some, it probably is racially motivated.
But he in no way said that criticizing the president makes someone racist.
Featured image by The White House. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons