Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus has recently revisited a 2017 New Yorker story reporting that a student selected for a coveted clerkship with William H. Pryor Jr., the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, had once written overtly racist statements. The student, Crystal Clanton, had sent texts to a fellow employee of the conservative student group Turning Point stating: “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE” “Like f— them all,” with the expletive spelled out.
In a separate report, the website Mediaite described a Snapchat message featuring a photo of a man who appears to be Arab and a caption written by Clanton that read, “Just thinking about ways to do another 9/11.” Mediaite also reported that Clanton had been hired by conservative activist Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
After news reports about the federal judge’s hiring of Clanton, seven House Democrats filed a complaint against him and a separate judge who had also hired Clanton. The judge appointed to review the matter dismissed the complaint in December.
Marcus reports that after the dismissal, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Bill Rankin unearthed letters that aren’t in the public file but were submitted to the court by Pryor and Justice Thomas. Thomas had interceded on behalf of Clanton, stating that his wife had informed him of “the horrible way” in which Clanton had been treated. Thomas suggested her to Pryor as a clerk, informing him of “the grossly out of character and unfounded allegations against her.”
In his letter, Pryor said Clanton had been “a victim of a false accusation of racist behavior by a tabloid reporter” relying entirely on an anonymous source. Marcus goes on to review some troubling remarks by Pryor about the Turning Point president who had terminated Clanton’s employment..
Thomas and Pryor, in short, engaged in a flagrant whitewash of Clanton’s racist remarks.
This article provides more conclusive evidence of how the warped, twisted, and depraved right-wing mentality that gave us Donald Trump has become deeply embedded in the fabric of American society. That rightists embraces white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, and misogyny. They have abandoned any pretext of adhering to God’s Ten Commandments or Jesus’ Golden Rule.
The rightists have turned the GOP into a cult that worships Trump the way Nazis worshiped Adolf Hitler and the Branch Davidians worshiped David Koresh. Trump is their champion and their exemplar. The right-wingers chief overriding characteristic is their acceptance of lying as a way of life. They voted for Trump after he had spent five years telling the lie about Obama’s birthplace, and eagerly supported him after he spent four years as president making over 30,000 false or misleading statements. The Trumpists now support his Big Lie about massive voter fraud and stolen elections.
Republican-sanctioned extremism metastasized throughout 2021. Republicans began the year with an insurrectionist mob attacking the Capitol. The use and incitement of violence is now common among Republicans, with Trump as inciter in chief. Republicans attack and threaten teachers, school board members, and politicians—and their families. Attacks on airline attendants are commonplace. In numerous states, Republicans are attempting to replace honest & non-partisan electoral officials with extremists who will use their offices to help Trump steal the 2024 election.
Before Trump, anyone caught using overtly racist statements could expect severe censure, even being fired. In the Trump era, Clanton can not only have racist remarks treated as a trivial matter, she can be succored by a Supreme Court Justice and his wife; have them arrange a high-level job; and be hired as a clerk by a federal judge. This is the moral swamp into which Trump and his Republicans have taken us. And they’re hoping for rejuvenation by re-electing Trump.