Former president Donald Trump and the Republican Party are driven by "the exact same things that drove the [Ku Klux] Klan movement of the 1920s," according to Wesley Lowery, the former Washington Post reporter best known for winning the Pulitzer Prize after being arrested at a McDonald's restaurant during a riot in Ferguson, Mo., and spending several minutes in jail.
"We have one political party that traffics in the same talking points as white supremacists, be it on immigration, be it on Muslims, be it on any number of issues, where the mainstream political rhetoric could be written by avowed racists," Lowery said Jan. 24 during a National Press Club panel on the journalistic challenges of covering extremism.
Journalists need to be brave enough, he argued, to describe the Republican Party as a white supremacist movement without fear of being called "not objective" by critics who are also white supremacists. (Lowery is a vocal opponent of objectivity in journalism.) "I'll be honest, I don't think very much about the mantle of neutrality," he said. "It's either raining outside or it's not raining outside. I'm not particularly interested in sounding neutral about which it is."
The Republican Party is a "movement that is a mix of nativism, of anti-urbanism, of anti-cosmopolitanism, a fear of immigrants," Lowery explained. "It's the exact same things that drove the Klan movement of the 1920s. But to say that in public—the way that Newsbusters is going to headline the write-up of this panel is going to be that I compared Donald Trump to the Klan. Right? Now this is a literal true factual description. How can we understand our moment if we are not allowed to make any comparison or add any context?"