Donald Trump did not say that he would have been in favor of Japanese internment during World War II. But he couldn't definitively say that he wouldn't be in favor of internment. And that alone is troubling as fuck.
Exclusive: Donald Trump Says He Might Have Supported Japanese Internment
In an interview with TIME, the Republican presidential candidate said he does not know whether he would have supported or opposed the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.
"I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer," Trump said. "I certainly hate the concept of it. But I would have had to be there at the time to give you a proper answer."
The forced wartime relocation and incarceration of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans during World War II is considered one of the U.S. government's darkest moments. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation officially apologizing for the internment camps on behalf of the government, and authorizing monetary reparations to individual Japanese American internment survivors. Hindsight is a crazy thing, isn't it?
Sure, Trump hates "the concept of it." However, he's not flat out willing to say that the internment was a violation with American values. His justification: "War is tough," and countries must implement questionable policies in order to win wars.
"It's a tough thing. It's tough," Trump told TIME. "But you know war is tough. And winning is tough. We don't win anymore. We don't win wars anymore. We're not a strong country anymore. We're just so off."
On Monday, Trump called for the United States to ban all Muslims from entering the country as a response to the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. And no surprise, his supporters ate it up.
The money quote comes from Al Baldasaro, a co-chair of Trump's New Hampshire campaign, who says that Trump is "100 percent right," likening the his current proposal to the government's actions during World War II.
"What he's saying is no different than the situation during World War II, when we put the Japanese in camps."
You're right, dude. It's same. We just fundamentally disagree on what that actually means. Not only is one of darkest chapters in history being willfully repeated, it is being re-written.
I'm not saying anything halfway conscious people haven't already realized: Donald Trump is preying on our nation's worst fears and impulses. And tragically, it's working.
More here: There's A Chance Donald Trump Would Have Supported Japanese Internment