CNN's presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told "Reliable Sources" anchor Brian Stelter on Sunday that President Trump is emulating Joseph McCarthy by demonizing Black Lives Matter protesters in a similar fashion of the Red Scare in the 1950s.
Trump has made it clear that rioters and looters will be held accountable for their actions, particularly after a mob tried to tear down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square across the street from the White House.
"What’s happening is that Donald Trump is Joe McCarthy. He’s creating what used to be an anti-communist hysteria, that you had to smear people in Hollywood that were once socialists or you had to fire people that were in a union, that used to like the old IWW. I mean, it was awful in the 1950s, but, alas, McCarthy wasn't president of the United States. We are now seeing McCarthyism running out of the White House," Brinkley said.
"So the smearing Black Lives Matter, which is a peaceful protest organization, very articulate and well-educated thinkers that have been touting James Baldwin as their hero, are suddenly being marginalized and smeared by the president of the United States as being almost vermin that needs to be exterminated," he continued.
Brinkley said the United States is healing from the divide some monuments and statues have created with the building of new types of memorials that honor LGBTQ, union, and Native American icons.
"The history narrative is simply expanding, but Trump’s people want to shrink it back down to an era where Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee ride high on their concrete pedestals. They are the reactionaries who are unwilling to bend with modern times," he concluded.