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Russia may have meddled in U.S. elections — but the fervent racism that helped win Donald Trump the presidency has been here the whole time, says Dave Chappelle.
Speaking with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in a joint interview with Jon Stewart airing Tuesday, the stand-up and actor said Trump gets “too much credit” for the hateful rhetoric of the era.
“I would not even name the era after him…. He’s not making the wave, he’s surfing it,” Chappelle said. “All he does is sing those people’s greatest hits. ‘Build the Wall,’ all these things we’ve heard before, he just sings all the songs. He’s the only one that’s been brash enough to do it.”
And still, Russia is not all to blame, the comic said. “Even when they say that Russia influenced the election, it’s kind of like, Is Russia making us racist? Is that who’s doing it?” Chappelle asked. “Oh, OK, oh my God, thank goodness — I thought it was us…. If they kill the country that way then we’re the murder weapon.”
As he has had to do a number of times now, Chappelle also addressed the comments he made on Saturday Night Live, which he hosted right after Trump was elected, saying in part then, “I’m going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us one, too.”
Chappelle admitted in previous interviews he regretted those words but told CNN it was the “right thing at the right time” to say.
“I’m a black American, so we’ve — these feelings that people felt right after the election, we’ve felt them, many elections consecutively. And to some degree, people overreacted,” he said. “The alternative to giving him a chance was storming the street.”
He continued, “Is he doing a good job? Am I happy with what he’s doing? No, it’s been very difficult to watch the last couple of years.”
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