New York Times contributing opinion writer Wajahat Ali was heavily criticized on Twitter Thursday after complaining in his latest column that he couldn’t convince Trump supporters to ditch the president and adapt his liberal views.
Ali’s column, headlined “‘Reach Out to Trump Supporters,’ They Said. I Tried,” declared that the far-left pundit had given up and is finished trying to push them to the left. Ali noted that more than 73 million Americans voted for President Trump to win reelection and many have urged liberals to “empathize” with Trump supporters who are disappointed with the outcome.
“This is the same advice that was given after Mr. Trump’s 2016 victory, and for nearly four years, I attempted to take it. Believe me, it’s not worth it,” Ali wrote. “The Quran [sic] asks Muslims to respond to disagreements and arguments ‘in a better way’ and to ‘repel evil with good.’ I tried.”
Ali claimed that he “really thought it might work” because he’s talked his non-Muslim friends into avoiding “Islamophobic propaganda and conspiracy theories” in the past.
“I assumed I could win over some Trump supporters whose frustrations and grievances had been manipulated by those intent on seeing people like me as invaders intent on replacing them,” he wrote. “So in late 2016, I told my speaking agency to book me for events in the states where Mr. Trump won. I wanted to talk to the people the media calls ‘real Americans’ from the ‘heartland’ — which is of course America’s synonym for white [sic] people, Mr. Trump’s most fervent base.”
As a result, Ali, who has famously mocked Trump supporters in the past, noted that he spent four years speaking to fans of the president
“My message was that diverse communities, including white [sic] Trump supporters, could work together to create a future where all of our children would have an equal shot at the American dream. I assured the audiences that I was not their enemy,” he wrote. “Those in the audience who supported Mr. Trump came up to me and assured me they weren’t racist. They often said they’d enjoyed the talk, if not my politics. Still, not one told me they’d wavered in their support for him.”
Ali went on to detail specific conversations with Trump supporters who did not ditch their preferred candidate after hearing his lecture.
“We cannot help people who refuse to help themselves. Mr. Trump is an extension of their id, their culture, their values, their greed. He is their defender and savior. He is their blunt instrument. He is their destructive drug of choice,” Ali wrote. “Don’t waste your time reaching out to Trump voters as I did.”
Ali’s column prompted mockery and outrage on Twitter.
Ali is no stranger to controversial opinions and raised eyebrows earlier this year for a shocking claim about “many white [sic] Republican voters.”
“I hope people realize that there are many white [sic] Republican voters in this country if they’re given a choice between renting a room in their house to a person of color or burning down the house, they will elect to burn down the entire neighborhood. It’s not just a small fringe,” Ali began a Twitter thread. “If you think this is an exaggeration, you should study US history. Look at what many white [sic] communities did after desegregation. Some shut down the local pools instead of allowing equal access for everyone.”
“They will rationalize it as legitimate victimhood,” he added. “They feel everything and everyone is against them, and they are being ‘replaced.’ It’s a zero sum game for them. Hence the 2016 election labeled as the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or die.”
As some Twitter users referenced Thursday, Ali also was part of an infamous CNN panel segment earlier this year during which he laughed along with anchor Don Lemon as ex-GOP strategist Rick Wilson mocked Trump supporters.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.