- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 5, 2016

Late-night HBO talk-show host Bill Maher on Friday took aim at the Republican party saying the GOP brought on it’s own “existential crisis” via businessman Donald Trump when it got in bed with racists years ago.

“I almost feel bad for them … except I really don’t because they brought it on themselves,” the “Real Time” host said, Mediaite reported. “They made a Faustian deal with the racist devil years ago and now those chickens are coming home to roost.”

Mr. Maher argued that high-level Republicans like House Speaker Paul D. Ryan who denounce Mr. Trump are ignoring their own pasts of pushing for voter I.D. laws and siding with cops who shoot unarmed black men.

Matt Lewis, author of “Too Dumb to Fail,” pushed back, saying many Republicans “reject this stuff” and said Mr. Trump is playing up a “white nationalist” populist movement.

But Mr. Lewis did admit that there has always been at least a small strain of bigotry in the party but added, “I do think it would be unfair to say that Republicans brought this on. I think Donald Trump in many ways is a hostile takeover of the party.”

Ari Shapiro, host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” jumped in to day that those aspects have always been present in the party, but said this week in politics blew the lid off the jar that kept Republicans together, all thanks to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Maher argued that Mr. Trump’s nationalist strategy is nothing new.

“It’s always been a winking campaign to get white, poor people mostly who have a resentment to vote racially,” he said, Mediaite reported.

He described the party as a house where the owners “let the racists have a room” in the house.

“They didn’t go in that room with all the Nazi memorabilia, but they made a very comfortable room in there and now they took over the house and the regular Republicans are scared to go to the kitchen at night to get a snack,” he said.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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