Bill Clinton denounces Donald Trump's nationalism: "It’s like we’re all having an identity crisis at once"

Although he didn't mention Trump by name, Clinton took unmistakable shots at the president's right-wing nationalism

Matthew Rozsa
March 10, 2017 10:09PM (UTC)

President Bill Clinton didn't mince words when denouncing Trumpian nationalism in a speech at the Brookings Institution on Thursday.

"People who claim to want the nation-state are actually trying to have a pan-national movement to institutionalize separatism and division within borders all over the world. It’s like we’re all having an identity crisis at once — and it is an inevitable consequence of the economic and social changes that have occurred at an increasingly rapid pace," Clinton said.


The former president added that often people "have found more political success and met the deep psychic needs people have had to feel that their identity requires them to be juxtaposed against someone else."

Although he didn't mention Trump by name, this isn't the first time that the Clintons have denounced what they perceive as a global trend of right-wing ultranationalist movements. In July, Hillary Clinton memorably told an audience in Reno, Nevada, that Trump's brand of right-wing politics "is not conservatism as we have known it, this is not Republicanism as we have known it. These are racist ideas, race-baiting ideas, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-women – all key tenets making up the emerging racist ideology known as the alt-right." She also argued that the alt-right was part of a "rising tide of hardline right-wing nationalism around the world."

Bill Clinton also pointed out that the coded language in Trump's political rhetoric. In September he told a rally in Orlando,  "I’m actually old enough to remember the good old days, and they weren’t all that good in many ways. That message where ‘I’ll give you America great again’ is if you’re a white Southerner, you know exactly what it means, don’t you?"


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Bill Clinton Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Nationalism

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