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Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie launched an attack at his Republican counterpart over a defense of President Trump on race mounted by Doug Steinhardt.
“From the day he launched his campaign calling Mexicans ‘rapists,’ to his insistence that Neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville were ‘very fine people,’ to his call for American-born and naturalized members of Congress to ‘go back’ to their countries, President Trump has not only contributed to racial tensions in America, he has been using racial division for his political benefit,” Currie said. “Anyone who can’t see that either isn’t paying attention or is complicit in Trump’s attempts to divide our country. New Jersey Republicans will own their endorsement of Trumpism for decades to come.”
Trump has frequently faced fire for incendiary rhetoric on race and, more recently, for racially-motivated mass shootings that Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and Democratic presidential candidates, say were inspired by Trump’s statements on immigration.
Many Republicans in the state have been reluctant to publicly criticize Trump over the issue.
“Liberal Democrats and media members have promoted a false narrative that President Trump has in some way contributed to racial tensions in our country,” Steinhardt said in a statement to The Bergen Record’s Charlie Stiles. “This is a simple and divisive claim that only deepens a very complicated issue.”
Steinhardt said all Americans, regardless of race or creed, were benefitting from Trump’s policies.
The president is unpopular in New Jersey. Aggregate data from Gallup’s tracking polls found Trump had a 35% approval rating in the Garden State in 2018.
Despite that, the president remains popular among the state’s Republican voters.