President Donald Trump, speaking at a campaign rally in Houston on Monday, declared himself to be a “nationalist,” which NBC News National Correspondent Peter Alexander said has “not just racial but xenophobic undertones” in an exchange with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt shortly after the event.
Trump said at the rally with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) Monday night, “You know what I am? I am a nationalist. Use that word.” There was major reaction to that, including New York Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks stating on CNN this afternoon that it reminds him of “people like Hitler.”
Hunt asked reporter Peter Alexander about it today on her show. “Peter, can I ask you also about his using the word nationalist, saying, you know, out loud, I am a nationalist? How does the president kind of conceive of that term? Because it doesn’t, in many ways, have racial undertones.”
“Yeah, it definitely does,” replied the reporter. “I mean, undertones that are not just racial but xenophobic.”
Alexander related it to Steve Bannon‘s use of the word. “This is something that the president has shied away from in the past,” he said. “Obviously nationalism was a phrase that Steve Bannon obviously embraced over the course of the campaign and a lot of the president’s opponents tried to pin this idea on him, that he was someone that was putting sort of America first but not in a good way, in ways he was trying to put cultural identities of Americans ahead of the identity of other foreigners, this sort of xenophobic idea.”
Alexander said that the President does this because he understands what his base wants. “He gets the idea of what those people in some of these red parts of the country have embraced, this idea of us versus them,” he said, characterizing Trump’s base as those who would be enticed by racial or xenophobic undertones. “The president is clearly siding with the us in the eyes of the people that surround him at these rallies.”
Watch the clip above, courtesy of MSNBC.
[Featured image via screengrab]
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