John R. Bolton, the former national security adviser who just released a scathing book about Mr. Trump, said on Sunday that the president’s inattention to detail made it possible that he did not notice the racist comments.
“He doesn’t pay attention to a lot of things,” Mr. Bolton said on “State of the Union.” “It’s entirely possible that he tweeted this video because he saw the sign, I think it was in the first go-kart that said the Trump 2020 or something like that. That’s all he needed to see. Not paying attention. Not considering all the implications of information he gets.”
But Mr. Bolton added, “It may be that you can draw a conclusion that he heard it, and it was racist, and he tweeted it to promote the message. It’s a legitimate conclusion to draw.”
Either way, the president’s initial decision to approvingly share the blatant support for white supremacy was the latest example of his willingness to use his vast Twitter following to inject incendiary commentary into the ongoing debate in the country over systemic racism.
In May, as protests erupted after the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a Minneapolis police officer, Mr. Trump tweeted, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a phrase with a long history of connection to racism.
More recently, Mr. Trump has used his Twitter feed to attack protesters who have pulled down statues of Confederate generals, calling them “arsonists, anarchists, looters, and agitators.” On Saturday night, he tweeted out 15 “wanted” posters for people the U.S. Park Police were seeking in connection with vandalism in Lafayette Square, just outside the White House.
The video on Sunday — which could not be independently verified by The New York Times — appeared to show a slow-moving parade through the Florida community with supporters of Mr. Trump riding golf carts, wearing red, white and blue, and displaying pro-Trump materials.