Former President Jimmy Carter this week suggested that Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric had tapped into "waiting reservoir there of inherent racism."
During an interview with The New York Times, the nation's 39th president suggested Republicans' opposition to President Barack Obama held a "heavy racial overtone." He said his New Baptist Covenant—launched in 2007—will hold a summit in Atlanta this fall to bring together white, black, Hispanic, and Asian Baptists to "work on issues of race and social inequality."
Carter, a Southern Baptist, is often referred to as the "first born-again president" due to his evangelistic roots. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 his work with the Carter Center in promoting human rights and democracy around the world.
The Times said of its interview:
Mr. Carter said the election of Mr. Obama was a hopeful sign, but he added, "I think there's a heavy reaction among some of the racially conscious Republicans against an African-American being president."
He said recent reports showing high unemployment and incarceration rates among black people, "combined with the white police attacks on innocent blacks," had "reawakened" the country to the realization that racism was not resolved in the 1960s and '70s.
He said Mr. Trump had violated "basic human rights" when he referred to Mexican immigrants as criminals and called for a ban on Muslims' entering the country.
"When you single out any particular group of people for secondary citizenship status, that's a violation of basic human rights."
Buying into the notion that self-professed evangelicals who vote for Trump aren't really evangelical, Carter said the term—as used by the media—is a "misnomer":
"I consider myself an evangelical as well. And obviously, what most of the news reporters thought were evangelicals are conservative Republicans," he said. "They have a heavy orientation to right-wing political philosophy, and he obviously is a proponent of that concept."
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