President Donald Trump has recently been criticized for his xenophobic and racist attacks against four minority congresswomen, including Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and the majority black city of Baltimore. Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III joined Boston Public Radio to discuss whether not just Trump, but the people who voted for him, should be condemned.

"I don't think you can condemn somebody for their vote," Price said. "When things are as politicized as they are, people use presidential elections to vote for Supreme Court appointees and for their feelings about certain stump platforms, so I think people have the right to do that, whether we agree with it or not. So I don't think you can take voters to task because they put a president in who revealed himself to be perhaps differently from what they thought he would be when he was elected."

When voting, people should consider how the rights of everyone will be represented, Monroe said. For this reason, she stated that Trump voters should be held accountable for who they elected into office.

"I find it unconscionable, and I find [Trump] voters unforgivable for a number of reasons. When I'm casting a vote, I've got to think about not just my own interest. I am very much thinking about the good of the country. I've got to think about the greater good. I feel like when you vote against someone's rights, like a lot of these social issues, you carry a certain kind of bias that the president is exploiting," Monroe said.

People need to be given the time to reflect on their choices, especially if reconsidering voting for Trump in 2020, Price said.

"We have to allow people the space and the room to open their eyes. The political system is broken because the only way that people can chime in on some of these conversations is through a presidential election," he said.

Monroe said that it's inexcusable for voters who applaud a specific Trump policy to ignore his racist and sexist actions. People who now feel bad for having voted for Trump in 2016 knew who they were electing from the start, she added.

"This is an excuse to gloss over those white voters and whoever else voted for Donald. It's being complicit with racism and all the other 'isms' and xenophobia. There was nothing confusing or nebulous in his speeches and actions. He gave us a precursor to what we see now. I feel now that a lot of white folks feel guilty and now want to distance themselves for the sin of voting for him," she said.

Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist and the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail and a Visiting Researcher in the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at Boston University School of Theology.

Price is Professor of Worship, Church & Culture and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Together they host the All Rev’d Up podcast, produced by WGBH.