Chris Baynes, The Independent, August 17, 2019
Steven Menashi, the president’s nomination for the Court of Appeals Second Circuit, wrote in an academic journal that “ethnic ties provide the groundwork for social trust” and “solidarity underlying democratic polities rests in large part on ethnic identification”.
“Surely, it does not serve the cause of liberal democracy to ignore this reality,” he added in the 2010 article for the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law.
The passages resurfaced on social media following the announcement of Mr Menashi’s nomination on Wednesday and were later discussed on air by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who described them as “a highbrow argument for racial purity in the nation state”.
Maddow described the article as “blood-curdling”, while the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Mr Trump to withdraw Mr Menashi’s nomination.
Mr Menashi, former general counsel for the US Department of Education and currently a special assistant to the president, rejected claims he was advocating for racial purity and — apparently contradicting his article — acknowledged the dangers of ethnic nationalism.
“Rachel Maddow grossly distorts Menashi’s argument,” wrote Ed Whelan in National Review. He said Mr Menashi’s argument was is ”clearly not about racial purity” but instead “what makes a population regard itself as a nation, what gives rise to national self-consciousness”.