Bruce Bartlett, a former Treasury official under President George H. W. Bush and former domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan, shared a Facebook status Sunday in which he called "100%" of President Donald Trump supporters "racists."
As a result of his comments, Bartlett's posts went viral, and he received wide criticism that he responded to in a continual stream of social media updates that spanned a period of two days.
His anti-Trump rhetoric
Bartlett shared a profane message to his more than 6,200 Facebook followers, without any apparent provocation,
"There is no longer any doubt — ALL (100%) of Trump supporters are racists. If you don't like it, f*** you," Bartlett wrote.
After immense — and immediate — backlash, Bartlett shared a follow-up comment defending his original sentiment.
He wrote, "If I had said that all members of the KKK are racists, no one would doubt that I am right. The KKK has a long history of racism and no one would believe a person who joined in ignorance of that fact."
Bartlett added that Trump's "personal record" of racism is extensive, and qualified that "every major racist group in America supports Trump unequivocally."
"Therefore," he wrote, "it is a simple matter of logic that ANYONE who supports this a**hole is a racist. I rest my case."
When the backlash ramped up, Bartlett noted that he wasn't calling Trump voters racist: "I did not say all Trump VOTERS are racists, nor did I even imply that all Republicans are racists," he clarified. "What I said is that all Trump SUPPORTERS are racists. That means the people who support Trump now, today, after all his horrible racist statements and actions. Those people are racists."
Bartlett admitted after the previous post that he had blocked several Facebook users for "objecting to being called racists" and called them out for supporting a "racist president" and "Confederate flags" while complaining that those he blocked had ridiculed his "manhood."
Bartlett continued his tirade Monday, writing, "I have blocked at least 100 people on FB today. I think they are all pro-Trump scum, but it's possible I blocked some that were supporting me and I misunderstood their comments. If so, I am sorry."
Tuesday morning saw a different version of Bartlett, who said he couldn't understand why he had received so much hate over his rhetoric.
"Earlier this evening, I said that all Trump supporters are racists," he wrote, and noted that as a result of his comments, he received an "outpouring of attacks and hatred."
Bartlett said he understood the fallout, but couldn't fathom why people cared about his comments.
"What I am curious about is why anyone gives a s**t what I said?" he asked. "If someone on FB said that all Hillary voters are Communists or pedophiles or whatever, I wouldn't give a s**t. I certainly wouldn't feel compelled to go to some stranger's FB page and write a lot of hateful comments because of it. What am I missing?"
A theory behind Bartlett's pot-stirring
Bartlett has a book coming out in October, and it seems there's a distinct possibility that he could be needling Trump supporters in order to appear on liberals' radars to drum up extra press for the book.
Titled "The Truth Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Separating Facts From Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks," the book sounds like it could be tailored for conservatives and Republicans who consistently hit out at "fake news." But while promoting the new book, Bartlett tweeted in August that "Truth is the best defense against Trump."
Truth is the best defense against Trump. https://t.co/9TNL7qdf75
— Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) August 26, 2017
Bartlett has been nothing short of vocal about his dislike of Trump in recent years.
In June, Bartlett penned an op-ed for Politico, titled "Trump is What Happens When a Political Party Abandons Ideas," which attacked the Republican Party for its "extremism" and "nuttiness" — both of which Bartlett said "drove" him away from the GOP platform.
Bartlett said that a 2015 op-ed he penned for Politico, in which he endorsed Trump — the article was titled "The Moderate Republican's Case for Trump" — was intended to be a "tongue-in-cheek" effort because he assumed Trump would lose to Clinton.
He wrote, "Trump was a guaranteed loser, I thought. In the Virginia presidential primary, I even voted for him, hoping to hasten the party’s demise. In the weeks before the November election, I predicted a Clinton presidency would fix much of what ails our country. On November 8, I voted for Clinton and left the ballot booth reasonably sure she would win."
Bartlett admitted that after Clinton lost the 2016 election, he abandoned reading all news.
"For two months after Trump won, I couldn’t read any news about the election, and considered abandoning political commentary permanently," he wrote in his June op-ed. "It wasn’t just that Trump disgusted me; I was disgusted with myself for being so stupid. I no longer trusted my own powers of observation and analysis."