The Atlantic staff writer David Frum disparaged Donald Trump voters in a new interview when he said counties with a “lot of obesity and drug abuse” voted strongly for the Republican.
“The Republican Party is an elderly party, it’s a party of people with chronic health problems. One of the things that was true in 2016, if you found a county where there is a lot of obesity and drug abuse, that’s where you had a lot of Trump votes,” Frum said on the “Matt Lewis & The News” podcast.
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“There is something compensatory, I think, about this cult of physical prowess, it’s people who at some level feel physically weak … there are all these weirdly homoerotic fan images of Trump,” Frum continued. “Trump can’t lift a glass of water, can’t walk down a ramp, hasn’t done meaningful physical exercise ever in his life … the idea that you would make this fetish about him, it says something about your doubts and your needs.”
Frum, a prominent NeverTrumper, declared that America isn’t as physically healthy of a country as it should be and largely blamed the GOP for the problem.
“The Republican Party, the Trumpy fringes, have special problems with personal physical health,” he said. “What I always say to them, ‘Stop worshiping these people, go for a walk. Go for a walk and stop eating the fried foods, OK? Go for a walk and order the salmon.’”
The frequent MSNBC guest’s generalization prompted criticism, with one National Review writer calling him the kind of “shock jock” he claimed to dislike on the right.
Fellow Atlantic contributor Tom Nichols defended his colleague, saying it would make Trump supporters angry but he was right. Maps showed counties with the highest rates of opioid abuse were more likely to vote for Trump than Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump supporters have long been painted in a negative light by the left, with the most infamous example being when Hillary Clinton referred to them as “deplorables” in 2016.
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“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said at a fundraiser. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
Frum was active in Republican politics for much of his career and served as a speechwriter and special assistant to President George W. Bush but has become one of numerous former Republicans or GOP allies to take a hard-left turn in the Trump era. He wrote the 2018 book, “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic.”