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Has Donald Trump no sense of decency?

REUTERS/Daron Dean
Trump may be the worst offender, but other political candidates are increasingly appealing to bigotry and hateful stereotypes to gain support.

Six decades ago, Sen. Joe McCarthy capitalized on public fear, preaching a message of hatred and panic. Finally, during one of the Army-McCarthy hearings in June of 1954, Joseph Welch, the chief counsel for the U.S. Army, stood up to him:

Until this moment, Senator (McCarthy), I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

Sen. John Marty

This week, presidential candidate Donald Trump said, “What I’m doing is calling very simply for banning Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Month after month, Trump makes headlines by ridiculing people, by stereotyping entire religions, by attacking women and immigrants. He told a Jewish audience, “I’m a negotiator — like you folks.” Trump told a breast-feeding mother, “You’re disgusting.” He described Mexican immigrants as rapists.

Trump may be the worst offender, but other political candidates are increasingly appealing to bigotry and hateful stereotypes to gain support. People are afraid of terrorism and violence. When a major presidential candidate uses that hatred and bigotry to stoke those fears, it further divides the American people and may lead to more hate crimes. 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune gave an account of one such recent attack, against a Somali woman at a suburban Applebee’s restaurant in late October. Asma Jama was eating there, with two of her cousins and four young nieces:

As Jama’s group conversed in Swahili, one of three languages she speaks, they began to hear muttering behind them from Burchard-Risch and her husband. The muttering soon turned into loud verbal jabs. “In America, we speak English,” the couple told Jama’s group. “Go home!”

According to police, Burchard-Risch swung her heavy glass beer mug “with a roundhouse punch-like motion” into Jama’s face.

The article reported that she “was left with 17 stitches, a persistent headache and scars that may be lifelong.” 

Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric might boost his campaign with certain parts of the electorate, but it is building on bigotry and may well encourage similar hate crimes.

This is not a hypothetical concern. Back in August, the Boston Globe reported on two brothers who attacked a sleeping homeless man in Boston, urinating on him, punching him and battering him with a metal pole. The brothers, who walked away laughing, reportedly told police that it was ok to assault the man because he was Hispanic and that “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” 

When told about the attacker’s comments, Trump said, “People who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.”

My question for Donald Trump, after his hate-filled comments about women, about people with disabilities, about immigrants, about Muslims — about a huge percentage of the American people that he wants to govern:

Mr. Trump, Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

John Marty, DFL-Roseville, is a state senator. He first published this article in his newsletter, “To the Point!” which is published by the Apple Pie Alliance.


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Comments (16)

  1. Submitted by joe smith on 12/11/2015 - 05:57 pm.

    Always interesting when a group can link a Somali women getting hit with a punch to Trump but not link a police officer getting shot to black lives matter with the hateful speech coming from that group towards cops. I guess saying Muslims shouldn’t be coming to our country until the whole immigration system get’s an overhaul is much worse than “Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon”.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 12/14/2015 - 12:23 pm.

      SOMEthing needs an overhaul

      And the whole immigration system needs an overhaul because?

      How many people have emigrated to America since 1492, who have most of them been, where have they come from, and how many of those immigrants have engaged in terrorist attacks?

      If “Native Americans” were asked, they’d probably say, “Light-skinned Europeans,” and, “When they first got here, it seemed like almost all of them were terrorists.”

      If “African Americans” were asked, they’d probably say their original relative’s experience of forced emigration to America, where they were victimized by terrorism every day of their lives, started right after “Native Americans” had been “convinced” it would be “in their best interest” to “sign-over” 99.9% of the “real estate” that is now called “the United States.”

      And if you asked today’s descendants of those “Original Americans” and “African Slaves” if those forms of selective, or targeted, terrorism have gone away over the past 200 to 500 years, they might say something like, “Well… Yes and no.”

      And when it comes to that overhaul, who’s going to do it? How long do you figure it would take? George Bush tried to do it 10 years ago, but Republicans weren’t having any of it because his plan included a way for 10 million immigrants to become citizens. And just a couple (or was it a few?) years ago the Senate passed an immigration reform bill (on a substantial bipartisan basis) but, once again, Republicans in the House were having none of it for the same reason: No way we can allow “those people” to have any chance of achieving citizenship (which, of course, would include the right to vote).

      If all the violent deaths of innocent people in America (in history) attributable to “radical Muslim immigrants” were added up, the total would probably be less than 5,000 or 10,000 (including “9/11”). If all the violent deaths of innocent people in America caused by “radical non-Muslim Americans” could be added up it would probably be in (or well beyond) the 5,000,000 to 10,000,000 range.

      But hey… Who’s counting? That was then, this is now. Time to “move forward” by focusing on the Critical: 13 Americans were killed at a Christmas party by a couple of slippery Evil Doers so it’s imperative we put the country on Red Alert Lockdown!, overhaul immigration, and make sure the presidential campaign is dominated by as much fear as possible for as long as possible because “radical Islamic terrorism” is, by far, the most important issue facing the country, and conservative Republicans never have ANY qualms about pulling out the National Credit Card to cover the cost of sending young Americans off to die to save us from the vast army of killers that is slipping into the country on fake refugee paperwork and really convincing background stories and, next thing anyone knows, there they’ll be, slitting throats at Burger King and taking the country, shopping mall by shopping mall, if we don’t throw everything we have at their desert stronghold now!

      And by the way… Minor oversight, I know, but that woman wasn’t hit with a punch. She was hit with a beer mug. As you know if you’ve ever had the experience, there’s a plenty big difference.

  2. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/11/2015 - 09:18 pm.

    The problem is not Donald Trump

    It’s the fact that more than a quarter of Americans seem to agree with what he’s saying.
    If they didn’t, who’d care what Trump said?

  3. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 12/12/2015 - 10:53 am.


    One of my favorite things. I have watched that video of the confrontation between Joseph Welsh and Joe McCarthy a million times, It’s easily found on youtube. If you want to see a less grainy version of Joseph Welsh, he plays the judge in the great movie “Anatomy of a Murder”

    That said, I have a couple of thoughts. First, Welsh was responding to McCarthy’s attack on a young associate in Welsh’s law firm. He was addressing McCarthyism in a narrow rather than in a broader sense of McCarthyism as an attack on political freedom generally. Secondly, in these politically correct times, it shouldn’t completely go unnoticed that McCarthy was responding to a series of veiled references by Welsh to Roy Cohn’s sexual orientation, an issue that provided a subtext to the Army McCarthy hearings generally. As an advocate and a political junkie myself, I love the way Welsh passes over the choice of defending his colleague personally, but instead chooses to go with the devastating attack on McCarthy himself.

    What do we make of this? What lesson is to be learned from these grainy kinescopes? Should the Republican candidates or some other Republican leader call out Donald Trump, the way Welsh, and later on Edward R. Murrow did back then? Should CBS do another documentary? As vile as McCarthy was, he was outside the political establishment of the time, and he was pretty dumb, attacking the Army at a time when America’s most famous and most successful general was occupying the White House. Today, there is no political figure with remotely the same stature and veneration as Dwight D. Eisenhower. And today also, the kind of attack Welsh made on McCarthy would be responded to by the ferocity of Fox News?

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/12/2015 - 11:25 am.

    Oh, please

    First of all, Joe McCarthy was right. The federal government was crawling with communists during the cold war, from the State Department to the White House (read “Blacklisted by History”), so let’s begin by putting that myth aside.

    Temporarily banning Muslims from immigrating until we can sort out the good guys from the bad guys is not an unreasonable suggestion. Islam is not like Christianity or other religions in that it’s more than a religion … it’s an entire governing ideology, with Sharia law being their legal framework.

    The expressed mission of the Salafi jihadist militant group known as ISIS is to establish a caliphate, which is a form of Islamic government led by a caliph. This government would eventually rule the world. The Sunni branch of Islam stipulates that, as a head of state, a Caliph should be elected by Muslims. What’s going on in Europe right now, where Swedes will be a voting minority in their own country in 15 years, is an example of why the leaders of this nation had better stop what they’re doing and reconsider national immigration policy.

    Banning avowed Islamists as a response to the proclaimed jihad against the West would be no different than banning avowed communists or Nazis during the wars with those ideologies. The argument that we’d be banning people based on their religion is narrow-minded and technically inaccurate.

    Larry Kudlow, no right wing nut, said yesterday “I’ve changed. This is war. Seal the Borders. Stop the Visas.”

    Those who despise Donald Trump, and that includes legions of republicans, had better lighten up on their rhetoric because when we get hit again, and we will, you’re going to be handing him the White House as the people in this country will dismiss you as clueless as they’ve already dismissed Obama.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 12/14/2015 - 10:02 am.

      One is never dissappointed

      By the commentary from certain corners of the conservative spectrum. McCarthy was right, nuclear war is a grand idea, the country is crawling with “pinkos”, it’s almost as if time stood still in the 1950’s. Then again conservatism isn’t much for keeping up with the times, just find a new enemy, rinse, wash, repeat, never mind that the ideas were ridiculous the first time around.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/14/2015 - 10:05 am.

      Please tell us…

      I have a hard time understanding the mechanics of banning Muslims and since you think it is a reasonable suggestion could you possibly give us some insight into how you see it working? Are white, Swedish Muslim’s OK? Do we all need to get documentation from our churches proving affiliations? Card carrying Christians? Since this is Trump’s idea will he make the Muslims pay for it? Inquiring minds want to know.

      Until then I will regard this whole issue as the ranting of lunatic ego-maniac on a scale that would have left PT Barnum agape.

      Oh, and Larry Kudlow is a right wing nut too.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 12/14/2015 - 03:13 pm.

      The irony

      Of course McCarthy was right, you are too, and as he would say, and you would no doubt agree, these times are far more perilous than most imagine when it comes to the alive and well spread of communism. The only thing you guys got wrong is how the Red Menace was (and, obviously, still is) doing its infiltrating.

      Although they were by no means the first, at the time, William F. Buckley Jr., and Barry Goldwater were the highest profile, most public and influential operatives to emerge from one of the most diabolical Trojan Horses the world has ever seen: the “Modern Conservative Movement.”

      They didn’t get that far, but they laid the groundwork for Comrade Reagan (ever wonder why he was so oddly tight with “Gorby”?) who laid the groundwork for the partial government takeover of 1994 (Newt and the gang) and, ultimately (to this point, anyway), the Supreme (Trojan) Court decision that made George Bush Jr. president.

      As we all now realize, that was ALmost enough to destroy capitalism, but not quite. Something went wrong: Obama got elected, which, some say, made Putin so mad that he ordered in the Tea Party Reservists to set the place on fire. And when that didn’t work, and Mitten Romney didn’t work, the same say Putin just about lost it totally which made him decide to take Crimea (without firing a shot!), just to blow off steam.

      And now Trump’s up. But the question is, has he been riding the T Horse all these years, waiting his turn to be of service to the Motherland, or is he the most canny double agent the Democrats (or the Clintons?) have ever been able to plant?

  5. Submitted by Jim Million on 12/12/2015 - 12:48 pm.

    “To the Point”??

    Given Sen. Marty’s publisher being Apple Pie Alliance, a proper bit of word play here might be “To the Corps.” I’m not sure he is getting to the “core,” at all.

    I am in the MinnPost record as skeptical and somewhat derisive of Trump’s devices, some pretty foul and many others mere quips intended to bait others (I do believe). Those, who like Sen. Marty, are late to take the bait, might prove more thoughtful, more broad in perspective and less vociferous themselves.

    But, Sen. Marty: Invoking Joe McCarthy here is 10th grade criticism, not sophisticated analysis. Pedestrian politics, period. You make yourself to be a shallow-seeming factotum, one who has decided to come into this cesspool for personal unstated motives.

    Look, I really don’t give a rat’s whiskers about Donald Trump, as my posted comments this week should indicate. I think he is simply doing what he likes to do…agitating for himself, his profile, ego (philosophy?) and testing his influence. He’s employing a business marketing strategy in the venue of politics, period. By all means, caution consumers to not purchase his product, to not recommend it to friends; however, do not presume to have it pulled from the shelves of political discourse. Produce better products yourself. Out sell the other guy!

    You are jumping into the cesspool for what reason: Democrat influence, personal political visibility, Minnesota Legislative/Senate issues and pending bills? Are you a player at Trump’s level, a national figure in current process? Could you be on the support team that presses these nasty retorts for sake of allowing the DNC candidates to demur, defer, and re-direct? Are you a soldier here, firing the volleys from the ranks, while Sanders and Clinton observe the skirmish from somewhere behind the front line? I don’t know. Please report, soldier.

    The greatest bit of nasty innuendo here, is your purposely general assertion–and buried thesis: “Trump may be the worst offender, but other political candidates are increasingly appealing to bigotry and hateful stereotypes to gain support.” Yes, your thesis does seem to really be the alleged Trump Honor Guard, not named or identified in any way. Please name names, if you seek credibility in objective minds. This blind assertion also serves to slyly elevate you as a defender against such “bigotry and hateful stereotypes.” Welcome to the overwhelming majority of Minnesota’s Blue, Red and Purple People, Sen. Marty.

    This is not sly composition of persuasion, it is merely sophomoric party bandwagon music. Please continue to contribute and elaborate. Please also better tune your instrument before sounding your “A” for this orchestra.

    [Note to those who are already jumping to defend or attack: I have nothing against Sen. Marty as person or Minnesota political leader. I simply object to his obviously gratuitous agenda here.]

  6. Submitted by Teri Fritsma on 12/12/2015 - 05:05 pm.

    Thank you

    Thanks for speaking out, Senator Marty.

  7. Submitted by Michael Goldner on 12/12/2015 - 07:02 pm.


    Sen. Marty your opinion is needed, thank you.

    For this to matter, every Minnpost reader who sees this article should comment in strong support of John Marty’s view that Trumps 15 minutes are over and he needs to get off the stage!

  8. Submitted by Howard Miller on 12/13/2015 - 05:02 pm.


    Trump does not have decency in him. His manners are nonexistent. He is a narcissist, a bully, a sexist, racist religiously bigoted very small man who seems to help some people channel their inner hate into assault. Don’t bother with probing his understanding of public affairs, international relations. There’s nothing to probe. A more painfully unqualified presidential candidate does not exist.

  9. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/14/2015 - 10:33 am.

    Clearly a rhetorical question, but…

    The answer is: “no” but actually, the problem isn’t Trump, it’s a republican voting bloc that republican party has spent decades cultivating by glorifying ignorance, abandoning integrity, and mongering hate, fear, anger, and intolerance. You can see the results on any relevant comment thread. The real question is whether or not the rest of the country has come to it’s senses and whether or not decent conservatives will vote for the whacko’s their party keeps producing.

  10. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 12/14/2015 - 11:13 am.


    I remember when exactly the same people who are in a high state of panic about ISIS now, were at the same level of panic in 2014 over Ebola. And exactly the same arguments were trotted out, and the same policies were demanded. Let’s ban all travel from everywhere. Obama is a weak leader because some guy in Texas came down with a disease, and because the president wasn’t doing what, screaming at cameras or breaking down at press conferences, or somehow going all leader all over the place. Well, the election came, and sometime shortly thereafter the crisis dissipated, and nobody seemed to think it worthwhile to note that the president, despite a total lack of strategy as I recall, did a series of exactly the right things that brought us through the crisis.

    Media frenzy is profitable, and cliched thinking is cheap. Calls for leadership are so easy to demand especially by those for those on whom the costs and burdens of followership will never fall. As shrill as the O”Reilly’s of the world are in their demands to do something, anything, they are not and never will be, the man who takes upon himself the decision to send our young men and women into harm’s way, let alone never getting anywhere near the way harm themselves. That being most assuredly the case, maybe just a touch of humility would not completely out of order.

    • Submitted by Russ Hilbert on 12/18/2015 - 11:42 am.


      They did make adjustments to travel from countries with ebola and largley it worked except for a couple of people who lied to get back here. I don’t think anyone is asking for anything different to happen now.

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