John R. Bolton, a former national security adviser who has just published a violent book on Mr. Trump, said Sunday that the president’s inattention to detail allowed him not to notice racist comments.
“He doesn’t pay attention to many things,” Bolton said in “State of the Union”. “It is quite possible that he tweeted this video because he saw the sign, I think he was in the first go-kart to say Trump 2020 or something. This is all he had to see. Not paying attention. Not considering all the implications of the information it gets. “
But Mr. Bolton added: “It may be that you can draw a conclusion that he heard it and was racist and tweeted it to promote the message. It is a legitimate conclusion to be drawn.”
Either way, the president’s initial decision to share his blatant support for white supremacy with approval was the latest example of his willingness to use his vast Twitter following the injection of incendiary comments into the country’s ongoing debate on systemic racism.
In May, when protests erupted after the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by a Minneapolis police officer, Trump tweeted: “When the looting begins, filming begins,” a phrase with a long history of connection with racism.
More recently, Trump used his Twitter feed to attack protesters who shot down statues of Confederate generals, calling them “arsonists, anarchists, looters and agitators”. On Saturday evening, he tweeted 15 “wanted” posters for people that the US park police were looking for in relation to vandalism in Lafayette Square, just outside the White House.
Sunday’s video – which cannot be independently verified by the New York Times – appears to show a slow parade through the Florida community with Mr Trump’s supporters riding a golf cart, who wear red, white and blue and show pro Trump materials.