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Gloria Steinem urges ‘Dump Trump’ at Royal Oak rally

George Hunter

Royal Oak — Political activist and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem had a message Saturday for a passionate group of Hillary Clinton supporters: “Make America great again. Dump Trump.”

Steinem was in Royal Oak to address about 100 people who crammed into a Washington Avenue storefront that houses a Democratic Party campaign office. The event, called the “Women-to-Women Voter Registration Launch,” was an attempt to get people to register to vote before Tuesday’s deadline.

Although Steinem did not specifically discuss Friday’s release of a 2005 video featuring Trump talking about how he uses his status as a “star” to pick up women, she had plenty of vitriol for the Republican presidential candidate.

Steinem, 82, said voting for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — and against Trump — is “a rejection of racism; a rejection of violence against women.”

The longtime activist and founder of Ms. magazine called Barack Obama “a great president,” adding: “The ultra right-wing had cancer, and Barack Obama had the cure, but they wouldn’t accept it.”

Steinem said if Clinton is elected, she would have a strong foreign policy. “Because she would bring an understanding that the most reliable indicator that a country is going to bring military violence against another country is violence against women,” she said. “It promotes the idea that one group is born to rule over another, which is bull...”

Her comment drew a hearty cheer from the group of supporters, many of whom shot cell phone video.

Steinem said she understood why some people support Trump. “When you’re hurting, and having a tough time, and out of work ... I’ve had white guys say to me, ‘a black woman took my job.’ What’s wrong with that statement? It’s privilege.”

Steinem, who spoke for about a half-hour, said the Republican Party was centrist prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “But the party became more right wing,” she said. “Trump has come up in the media without the party. He’s a brand, not a person.

“Maybe that will cause the centrist Republicans to come back,” she said. “I hope that this can be the beginning of real, serious, big-time change.”

Steinem said the media’s coverage of Clinton’s transgressions amounted to “false equivalency.”

“Hillary is demoted, and Trump is elevated because of 50-50,” she said.

“People attack candidates because of their strengths,” she said. “The idea of ‘Crooked Hillary’ came about because she’s the most honest.”

Volunteer Amy Voigt of Bloomfield Township said it’s crucial for Clinton to defeat Trump in the Nov. 8 election.

“I support Hillary because I’m a high school teacher, and the mother of two daughters,” she said. “I can see only one way of moving forward in America, and that’s the continuation of Democratic leadership.”

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, agreed. “There’s so much at stake, whether it’s health care, climate change, education, the Supreme Court, reproduction rights, gun violence,” he said. “We’ve almost become accustomed to Donald Trump’s totally, totally reprehensible behavior.”

Tom Krell of Royal Oak said he’s been successful registering people to vote. “I was at an event the other day where 70 new citizens were being sworn in,” he said. “Probably half of them were Muslims. I walked out of there thinking, ‘This is what America is all about.’ We don’t need to make America great again; we’re great now. A nation of immigrants.”

Levin also criticized Trump’s campaign slogan.

“When Donald Trump says, ‘make America great again,’ what he really means is to make America like it was 50 years ago,” he said.

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN