"President Donald Trump used racist language on Sunday to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren’t natural-born American citizens… Trump implied in the series of tweets that the congresswomen weren’t born in America and sarcastically suggested, “they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” — CNN, 7/14/19

- - -

Enough is enough. As a lifelong Republican, I’m personally disgusted by President Trump’s latest Twitter tantrum, in which he told several congresswomen of color to “go back” where they came from. This kind of overt bigotry is divisive, wrong, and simply has no place in the Republican Party. So I’m calling on Republicans of good conscience everywhere to wholeheartedly reject the nakedly racist rhetoric of Trump and return once again to the classic dog-whistle race-baiting of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush.

Even though I voted for him in 2016, this is not the first time Trump’s unabashed bigotry has bothered me. For example, I didn’t approve of the way he launched his 2016 presidential campaign by characterizing Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. I’m sorry, but that kind of in-your-face racism was a disgrace. Trump turned his back on the legacy of the great Ronald Reagan, who launched his successful 1980 presidential campaign near Philadelphia, Mississippi, declaring, “I believe in states’ rights.” Sure, Philadelphia was the site of one of the most notorious crimes of the Civil Rights Era — a brutal triple murder, dramatized in the film Mississippi Burning. And yes, segregationist whites understood that “states’ rights” really meant “Jim Crow.” But most voters outside the South were blissfully unaware of all that, so that made it okay. Why doesn’t Trump get that?

Or take the time Trump accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of bias because he was “Mexican” — even though Curiel was born in Indiana. That was so over-the-top racist, even Paul Ryan called it “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Again, Ronald Reagan, who believed in a big tent Republican Party, would’ve never dreamed of saying anything like that. Reagan was very careful to employ more subtle, less provocative language like “welfare queens” and “strapping young bucks.” See, unlike Trump, Reagan understood that there’s a world of difference between scapegoating “welfare queens” who supposedly cheat the system and steal from disgruntled white taxpayers and attacking “black welfare queens” — mainly, the latter would’ve turned off a lot of moderates and tarnished the GOP’s reputation, which would’ve been a shame.

And then there was the time Trump called for “a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — his now infamous Muslim Ban. That made me really angry. There’s just no excuse for that kind of brazen religious bigotry, and many Republicans — including Dick Cheney, who called it un-American — were appropriately outraged. Naturally, the reason they were so upset was because Trump completely abandoned the proud tradition of Richard Nixon, who always eschewed racist rhetoric and instead used coded appeals to “law and order.” Trump has apparently forgotten that Nixon managed to flip the Old Confederacy from Democrat to Republican without once uttering a single explicitly-racist remark, at least in public.

And who could forget Trump’s blatantly racist midterms ad? It prominently featured a Mexican man boasting about killing police officers. That was flat-out racial incitement, and I thought Trump personally endorsing that ad was beneath the dignity of an occupant of the White House. In doing so, Trump rejected the legacy of the honorable George H.W. Bush, who, despite his campaign running an ad featuring a black murderer-rapist whom they intentionally renamed “Willie” as to sound more “black” — had the moral clarity not to endorse it personally. That’s why I voted for Bush and his son, and would do so again.

In conclusion, I’ve had enough of Trump’s unabashed racism. As Republicans, we must denounce him and once again become the party of Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and the Southern Strategy. The choice is clear. Do we want to be known as the party of racists, or the party of thinly-veiled, white racial resentment and expertly-coded racist rhetoric? As Ronald Reagan said, in endorsing the great Republican Barry Goldwater — who in 1964 won five Jim Crow states by opposing the Civil Rights Acts but avoided saying the n-word — “Now is a time for choosing.”