Jon Stewart Blasts Those Who Call All Trump Voters Racist: They ‘Ran Into Burning Buildings…’

Jon Stewart, former host of “The Daily Show,” and Chris Smith sat down with James Poniewozik from the New York Times for a “TimesTalks” on November 30th.

Image Credit: Brad Barket/Getty

The interview was supposed to be in celebration of Stewart’s new book, “The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History as Told by Jon Stewart, the Correspondents, Staff and Guests,” but it quickly turned to focus on the 2016 presidential election.

Throughout the campaign, Trump attacked Hillary Clinton over her ties with Goldman Sachs and touted that she wasn’t qualified to be president because she mishandled classified information.

Stewart criticized Trump’s hypocrisy over his meeting with David Petraeus, who pleaded guilty to mishandling classified material, as well as his nomination of Goldman Sach’s Steven Mnuchin for Secretary of the Treasury.

Still, he wasn’t about to be lured into any racially charged headlines surrounding a Trump administration.

He identified who, in large part, voted for Trump:

“And I’ll say this, I know a lot of first responders. I spent a lot of time in that community. A shitload of them voted for Trump.”

Then explained why it’s inaccurate to say all Trump voters are racists:

“The same people that voted for Trump ran into burning buildings and saved whoever the fuck they could no matter what color they were, no matter what religion and they would do it again tomorrow.”

Finally, he asked an important question to everyone who believes Trump voters are giving into a racist system:

“So, if you want to sit and tell me that those people are giving tacit approval to an exploitative system ― I say, ‘OK, and would you put your life on the line for people who aren’t like you? Because they did.’”

Stewart’s position on “tacit approval” was recently challenged when someone told him:

“By saying that [Trump supporters] are not all racists, they are giving tacit support to a man of racist language.”

He used this point to demonstrate that many Americans are perpetrators of exploitive and damaging systems as long as they “don’t affect us that badly.”

He pointed to his friend’s iPhone and said:

“I was like, ‘Guess how those are made, guess who makes them?’ ‘Oh yeah, but that’s …’ ‘What, what is it?’ It’s not different, we all do that. All of our shit stinks and getting beyond that takes incredible work.”

Stewart also had advice for how to bridge the divide that a lengthy campaign season created:

“This has to stop. This idea that we’re all … that our team is perfect and the other team is demons.”

He went on to say that when you fight for what you believe in, you should use “precision and integrity,” not demonization such as labeling all of your opponents as racist:

Just as there will be victims of Trump’s policies, Stewart reminded viewers that even if you thought Obama was “one of the good guys,” there were also victims of his policies.

After the election Jon Stewart told CBS “This Morning” that our country didn’t change when the results of the election were announced.

He reiterated this statement during his “TimesTalk”:

“The only thing I would tell everybody to hearten is we’re still the same country. Obama didn’t change and fix everything and Trump can’t ruin everything.”

Rising above adversity, like the American experiment, has never “been easy,” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.

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