Donald Trump is certainly no stranger to controversy. The highly unpopular presumptive Republican nominee for president has alienated a number of demographics through his improvisational, reactive brand of demagogic populism. From mocking a disabled reporter to accusing Mexican immigrants of being rapists, Trump’s most offensive moments have somehow left the reality star-turned-candidate relatively unscathed.
That may be changing.
Following his rivals’ departure from the GOP’s presidential primary, Trump’s mercurial temperament may finally be catching up to him as the general electorate scrutinizes his unsavory and offensive style, which often veers into blunt racism and fear-mongering.
Trump now appears to be digging himself into an even larger hole. One of the candidate’s recent tweets featured a meme calling Hillary Clinton the “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever.” The image also featured a Star of David overlaid on a pool of cash. It remained on Twitter for several hours before being taken down and replaced with a doctored version.
At a rally this week in Cincinnati, Trump expended a considerable amount of energy defending the image, accusing the media of dishonesty in bringing up its racist undertones. Much to the confusion of political commentators who figured that Trump would make political use of recent developments pertaining to Clinton’s private email server, Trump instead focused on the meme, stating that if he had the opportunity again, he would have left it up.
The mogul has since tweeted another image depicting a sticker book themed with Disney’s film Frozen which also includes a Star of David, rhetorically asking if the book should attract the same degree of outrage sparked by the Clinton meme. Ironically, it turns out that image itself was taken from yet another antisemitic user from the same racist web forum that gave us the Clinton meme.
Trump completely missed the original point that juxtaposing the Star of David and a pool of money peddles very dangerous anti-Jewish stereotypes that we have seen before.
Whether or not Trump’s continued inability to rebuke his antisemitic followers or cease his own dissemination of racist memes changes the landscape of the general election remains to be seen. But if his horrendous track record offending women or latinos had any correlation to Trump’s poor polling numbers with those groups, then the candidate will fare even worse at the polls than he is currently slated to.