Trump Backers ‘Hate the Civil Rights Movement,’ Former NYT Reporter Says

Pulitzer Prize winner offers insulting speculation on why president's base is so loyal, predicts latest tax story will hurt

Image Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images

A journalist and author who has been highly critical of President Donald Trump offered up a theory Wednesday to explain why so many voters support him: They want to return America to the days of segregation.

David Cay Johnston, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for reporting on loopholes in the federal tax code and wrote “The Making of Donald Trump” in 2016, appeared on CNN to talk about a New York Times exposé on Trump’s personal finances.

The 14,000-word story, published Tuesday, details how the president’s father allegedly funneled tens of millions of dollars to his son in ways that might have violated tax laws.

A spokesman for Trump said the story in The New York Times was inaccurate.

Trump lawyer Charles Harder told The Times: “President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,” according to Reuters. “The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.”

Johnston said many of Trump’s supporters would not flinch because of their ugly motives.

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“Without a doubt, those people that support Donald Trump because they hate the civil rights movement, because they don’t want immigrants — they’re gonna stick with Donald Trump,” he said.

Johnston offered no data to support his claim, instead stating it matter-of-factly, as if it were an unchallenged fact.

It is not the first time Trump voters have come under scorn. During the 2016 campaign, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton infamously said that up to half of the Republican candidate’s supporters belonged in a “basket of deplorables.”

Johnston is no stranger to harsh criticism of Trump. In addition to his book — which did not paint a flattering picture of the then-future president — it was Johnston who last year received a 2005 Trump tax return from an anonymous source.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow breathlessly promoted the “scoop,” but when she revealed it, many analysts agreed it was a dud that shed little light on Trump’s finances. Trump is estimated to be worth $3.1 billion, according to Forbes.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) has expressed doubt that The New York Times’ story would hurt the president. Johnston on Wednesday disagreed — at least among those supporters who do not want to erase the civil rights movement.

“I think this is likely to be the first real nick, other than what’s going on with [porn star] Stormy Daniels that may peel away a little bit of the Teflon,” he said.

Some voters support Trump because of concerns over economic stagnation, Johnston said.

Related; Fake News: Rachel Maddow Whiffs on Trump Taxes

“Some of those people have moral compasses, and they’re gonna be offended by this. And more will come out about this over time,” he said. “Be patient. We’ll get closer to getting Donald Trump’s tax returns. And if the Democrats take control of the House and Senate, we’ll see them within a year.”

Johnston said The Times’ story “establishes beyond a doubt that Donald Trump has been involved in years, decades, of criminal tax evasion.”

He said he can’t prove the Trumps violated laws related to the gift tax but added, “In my heart, I’m certain they did.”

Johnston also suggested Trump got help from shady Russians.

“We know that Donald has done lots of squirrelly deals that make no economic sense with Russian oligarchs, that he’s been involved with Russian mobsters. So that’s not surprising,” he said.

Johnston’s comments left CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin breathless.

“Wow. Wow,” she said, almost in a whisper.

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