Candace Smith, a reporter for ABC News, had the unenviable task of being the only black reporter assigned to cover Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. At the ABC News website, she tells the story of how she was treated by Trump supporters and what she learned about the US as a country from the experience. Her tale is appalling, if not entirely surprising given the events of this week. Here’s an excerpt:
But conversations with over 100 Trump supporters, all white, revealed a darker truth: that they may like me as a person but were concerned more holistically about what black and brown people were doing to this country and worried about a changing nation that no longer looked like them.
“I’m not afraid to say that I’m in fear for the white man. I’m in fear,” Brian Patterson told me in North Carolina. He had voted for President Barack Obama but worried about racial tensions, feeling Obama had exacerbated them. Jayna Knowlton, who confided in me that she had been called a bigot and racist, said she merely wanted her country back.
“I want my kids to know freedom,” she said, adding that whites “absolutely” are discriminated against and she is concerned that the country is growing too diverse.
And then there was Frank Meeker, in Prescott Valley, Arizona, who was concerned about undocumented immigrants and terrorists coming from the southern border.
When our interview concluded, he unfurled a flag he had been keeping under his legs. It was a flag proclaiming states’ rights, with “Don’t tread on me” emblazoned over a flag. But instead of the usual yellow background, it was a Confederate flag — in Arizona, which was only a territory during the Civil War.
Image via ABC News.