by Marc Berman
President Trump’s critics claim that his recent tweets prove that he is racist. First, the President suggested that four female members of Congress should go back to their countries of origin. Countries like the Bronx.
Subsequently, Trump assailed Rep. Elijah Cummings for doing “a very poor job.” Trump claimed that Cumming’s predominately African American Baltimore district “is in horrible shape and falling apart.”
That all five members whom Trump lambasted identify as people of color seemingly clinches the racism rap. Indeed, Sen. Cory Booker branded Trump as “very similar” to former Alabama governor and avowed segregationist George Wallace.
Yet, I am perplexed. Back in the day, racists wouldn’t hire African Americans. They refused to eat with blacks or serve them in restaurants. When blacks peacefully protested such discrimination, racist officials ordered law enforcement to shoot them with water jets from fire hoses and attack them with police dogs.
Indeed, bigots have typically been open about their discriminatory views. Take George Wallace himself.
In 1963, Wallace roared, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.” Wallace also asserted that “liberals seek to persecute the international white minority to the whim of the international colored majority….”
In contrast, Trump didn’t refer to the representatives’ race in his latest tweets. He doesn’t advocate racial discrimination. He has appointed black and brown people to his cabinet. The President has no problem dining publicly with minorities (at least if Big Macs are on the menu). He permits opponents to demonstrate against him.
Then there’s Trump’s rhetoric. In 2018, he acknowledged “our nation’s continuing debt to Dr. King’s legacy.” The President maintained that “Dr. King advocated for the world we still demand — where … our limits and our opportunities are defined not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.”
This Independence Day, the President even saluted the “thirst for justice” behind the civil rights efforts of African American students in Wallace’s era. Trump thanked one of those students “for making this country a much better place for all Americans.”
What racist ever spoke like that?
Moreover, through backbreaking research, I discovered that Trump often excoriates people who are not black or brown. Or even female.
I’m talking white males like Jeb Bush, James Comey, Jeff Sessions, Adam Schiff, Jerald Nadler, Chuck Schumer, Bill Clinton, John McCain, Wolf Blitzer, Richard Blumenthal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stephen Colbert, and Robert Mueller. Not to mention a counterman at Katz’s Delicatessen who mistakenly put some brisket in Trump’s corned beef sandwich.
Is it conceivable that Trump isn’t racist, but just attacks anyone who opposes him? And that any misstatements of fact by the President are unrelated to his adversaries’ skin color? I am loath to consider such farfetched ideas.
Still, there exists the theoretical possibility that Trump’s problem is not with the race of Rep. Cummings and the four members of the “Squad,” but with these congresspersons’ views and actions.
And what about Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s call to exclude from politics black and brown people who don’t share her liberal positions? Or Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s attempt to physically prevent Trump from addressing his supporters? Or Rep. Cummings chairmanship of a congressional committee that is harassing the President for political ends? Or AOC’s stated positions on, well, everything?
So here’s hoping that President Trump will show some decency going forward, by no longer pretending to be committed to equal opportunity.
Mr. President, fire Ben Carson and Elaine Chao. Stop condemning bigotry. Stop meeting with black leaders. Cease touting record-low African American unemployment. Revoke the pardon for Jack Johnson. And don’t even think about promoting any Kanye West concerts.
For their part, progressives must forget about impeaching Trump over collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice. The 47 or so additional investigations that are necessary to sustain the charges will take too long. Anyway, those crimes were nothing compared to Trump’s ongoing masking of his racial prejudice.
Instead, if Trump persists in professing support for racial equality, House Democrats must impeach him immediately. For that reason alone.
We can’t tolerate someone in the White House who refuses to act like the bigot we want.
Marc Berman writes on politics, law, culture, and current events. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.