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Tina Casey headshot

Univision's Jorge Ramos Takes A Whack At 'Silent' Trump Supporters

By Tina Casey

Earlier this week, an op-ed appeared in Time magazine penned by the influential journalist Jorge Ramos, under the provocative heading "Judgment Day Is Coming For Those Who Stay Silent on Donald Trump." By "those who stay silent," Ramos seems to have prominent Trump supporters like Facebook board member Peter Thiel in mind. Thiel helicoptered into the climactic final night of the Republican National Convention last month to endorse Donald Trump for president, and he hasn't been heard from since.

Coincidentally (or not), the day before Ramos's editorial appeared, Vanity Fair reporter Maya Kosoff was just wondering aloud why Thiel absented himself from the campaign trail after making so splashy an entrance ...

The Jorge Ramos op-ed

Ramos is a news anchor for Univision and Fusion as well as a Time 100 honoree. He pulls no punches in his August 23 message to Trump supporters. Warning that "neutrality is not an option," Ramos leads with a direct challenge:
"It doesn’t matter who you are — a journalist, a politician or a voter — we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump."

Do read the full piece for a full sense of Ramos's powerful argument. He makes it clear that even if Trump loses the election, his supporters -- and those who remain silent -- will all be called to account.

Ramos draws attention to the growing number of prominent, politically-connected Republicans who have publicly disavowed Trump. The list includes Rosario Marín, who served as Treasury Secretary in the George W. Bush administration. Her own op-ed against Trump appeared on the Univision website last week.

Ramos also calls on journalists to recognize and act upon the "moral dilemma" created by Trump's extremist candidacy:

"Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were right; sometimes you have to take a stand. They did it against the dangerous persecutions of Senator Joe McCarthy and in denouncing the pernicious official spin during the worst years of the Vietnam War."

Since there is a Univision connection between the Ramos and Marín op-eds, it's worth pausing to note that Univision is probably the one to watch when it comes to zeroing-in on both Trump and Thiel.

That's because Univision just bought Gawker Media, which Thiel effectively bankrupted with back-door funding for the Hulk Hogan "sex tapes" lawsuit. And Univision is co-owned by the prominent Hillary Clinton financial backer Haim Saban.

Vanity Fair takes on Peter Thiel

So far, Thiel's public endorsement of Donald Trump has given rise to more puzzlement than criticism. However, his prolonged silence after his speech at the RNC is beginning to raise some eyebrows.

Vanity Fair's Maya Kosoff, for one, seems to be thinking along the same wavelength as Ramos.

Her August 22 article comes under the title, "Is Peter Thiel Turning His Back on Donald Trump?"

"... It seems Thiel hasn’t done much lately to actually support Trump’s presidential run. The billionaire PayPal co-founder, arguably Trump’s most prominent supporter in Silicon Valley, has no plans to fundraise or donate to Trump’s presidential campaign," a spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.

Kosoff notes some important points of commonality between Trump and Thiel, some of which we've also noted in the past:
"... The two wealthy capitalists with an authoritarian bend have much in common. They’re both litigious ... Thiel and Trump also share a distaste for 'political correctness' and multiculturalism."

Kosoff points out that if Thiel jumps the Trump ship, he'll have plenty of company among his Silicon Valley cohorts:
"... High-skill immigration remains critical to the sector’s success. And anything that threatens that success is not looked upon kindly. In July, 145 leaders of tech companies signed an open letter stating that Trump would be a 'disaster for innovation ...'”

On the other hand, Trump is not the first overtly anti-immigrant, racist candidate that Thiel has endorsed. He was the chief financial backer behind the failed 2012 presidential bid of Ron Paul, whose anti-immigrant views considerably softened after he began dipping his toes into the presidential waters. Thiel also contributed financially to the career of right-wing provocateur James O'Keefe.

As reported earlier this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Thiel is scheduled to speak at the 2016 Property and Freedom Society conference next month in Turkey, a choice that allies his name with the extremist "alt-right" white nationalist movement. (His name does not appear on an initial list of speakers published by PFS on Jan. 5, but the Daily Mail and other news organizations have also placed him there.)

Hillary Clinton is piling on...

Kosoff asks if Peter Thiel is turning his back on Donald Trump. But given Thiel's alt-right connection, a better question would be: Why should he turn his back on Donald Trump?

As numerous political observers noted, Trump has emerged as the candidate of the alt-right.

That hasn't escaped the notice of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. As of this writing, Clinton is preparing to give a major address in Nevada, during which she will directly address the issue of Donald Trump's affiliation with the alt-right and white nationalism.

Stay tuned.

Photo (cropped and altered): via Sportsfile Web Summit on flickr.com, creative commons license.



Tina Casey headshot

Tina writes frequently for TriplePundit and other websites, with a focus on military, government and corporate sustainability, clean tech research and emerging energy technologies. She is a former Deputy Director of Public Affairs of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and author of books and articles on recycling and other conservation themes.

Read more stories by Tina Casey