“This country, because of what it stands for, will not stand for your conduct.”
President Donald Trump is coming under fire for his refusal to take a clear stand against racists after blaming “both sides” for white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But one of his Republican predecessors had no problem calling out bigots.
Former President Ronald Reagan spoke to the NAACP’s annual convention in 1981 when he was commander in chief, and his comments stand in sharp contrast to Trump’s tepid response to racist violence.
“A few isolated groups in the backwater of American life still hold perverted notions of what America is all about,” he said in a clip going viral. “Recently in some places in the nation there’s been a disturbing reoccurrence of bigotry and violence.”
Then, Reagan sent a direct message to those “who still adhere to senseless racism and religious prejudice.”
“My administration will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who, by violence or intimidation, would attempt to deny Americans their constitutional rights,” he promised.
Trump has also been invited to speak to the NAACP, but refused the offer.