Civil Rights Organization Denounces 'Blatantly Racist Appeals' in Donald Trump's Campaign Tweets

A civil rights organization called the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has condemned a handful of President Donald Trump's recent campaign tweets as "blatantly racist." In a press release issued on Wednesday, the group listed five tweets from the account "Trump War Room," highlighting their overt racist connotations. They argued that campaign tactics like this would "sow division" and "promote racial stereotypes and divide communities."

"We condemn the Trump Campaign for again resorting to racist appeals intended to disempower and marginalize Black communities," the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law's president and executive director, Kristen Clarke, said. This referred to tweets with graphics showing five alleged criminals — some of whom have not even been convicted yet. The tweets summarized the allegations and highlighted how former Vice President Joe Biden or members of his campaign would treat them differently than Trump or his administration would.

"Racist appeals by political candidates are a form of voter suppression used to sow division, promote racial stereotypes and divide communities," Clarke continued. "These dirty tactics, which harken back to the deadly Jim Crow era, have no place in our democracy today."

The tweets showed the mug shots and full names of Americans who are suspected of crimes — all of them Black. They then claimed that Biden campaign officials had donated to bail funds to free these people from jail while they await trial. Bail funds have become a common form of donation online in recent months during the wave of Black Lives Matter protests around the country.

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law was not the only organization to condemn this campaign tactic. Many argued that the Trump campaign was putting these Americans in harm's way by heavily publicizing their names and faces. Others compared the posts to an infamous 1988 campaign ad featuring convicted murderer Willie Horton. While serving a life sentence for murder, Horton was allowed to leave prison for the weekend under a controversial "weekend furlough" program in Massachusetts' prison system. He escaped, and then committed more crimes before being recaptured.

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At the time, presidential hopeful George H.W. Bush frequently referenced Horton on the campaign trail, using his case as an example to argue that his opponents were "soft on crime." Horton was then featured in a campaign ad for Bush, where his name and face were shown on TV. Critics have long argued that this was a way of "dog-whistling" to racist voters. The argument even made its way into the Netflix documentary 13th.

At the time of this writing, the Trump campaign's tweets about alleged criminals remain online, despite widespread criticism.