Trump, his Racism, and the Reaction

Trump, his Racism, and the Reaction July 16, 2019

I’m sure that everyone who reads this will know exactly what has happened over the last few days. But in case you have been on holiday to Antarctica, here it is. Donald Trump, as President of the United States of America, and as most powerful man in the world and role model to his people, has become yet again embroiled in controversy as a result of yet another Twitter spat.



In case you need this spelt out for you, this is a classic racist trope of looking at someone with a slightly different skin tone or cultural appearance and telling them to “go back to their own country”. This is been happening an awful lot in the UK since Brexit with second and third-generation people from immigrant families being told to go back to “their own country” when, in fact, they were born and bred in the UK.

In this Trump debacle, we had had this tweeting to the congresswomen known as “The Squad”, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib. Three out of four of these women, all of whom people of colour, were born in the United States, with the fourth coming here from Somalia at the age of 10 and becoming a US citizen. In fact, AOC hails from Queens, the same place that Trump is from. Indeed, Trump is born of a Scottish immigrant. Maybe he should go back home to his country! Actually, on second thoughts, you can keep him. Please don’t let him come here again.

As ever, and as I have observed before of him, Trump decided to double down on his original stance. This was one of his later tweets:

The ridiculous things is he then proceeded to demand an apology…from them:

Trump tweeted: “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”

He followed it up later by adding: “If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the US.”

Let me remind you about his doubling down and racist approach in this properly cringeworthy interview. Oh, and his very thick skin, and very good temperament. Best skin ever. Tremendously successful TV, and real estate. The best. The biggest.

This interview concerns that Mexican judge – remember? Oh, and remember those email claims, and remember, too, that Ivanka Trump amongst others have used private emails…

Trump really is playing to his white, nationalistic electorate in the hopes that they will provide him with the means to get back into the White House in 2020. Trump’s response is that they should leave if they don’t like the country. So, under any government or dictatorship in the world that is contemptible, rather than change the state of affairs through democratic means, they should just leave?

Trump is insane. Dangerously insane.

The original point of this set of tweets by Trump appears to have been to attempts to drive a wedge between establishment Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and the new freshman congresswoman who are making waves within the Democratic Party. The problem is, instead of driving a wedge, he has united them because if there is one thing that the Democrats can agree on it is that Trump is a divisive and hateful figure that they need to get rid of.

What is particularly sad is the tumbleweed that we have witnessed blowing across the Republican dirt. Yes, Mitt Romney and a few others have been fairly forthright, but you would expect this from them. Lindsey Graham, who used to be so anti-Trump, has recently become his lapdog. His reaction was nothing short of sickeningly obsequious. He has kept up the claim that people like AOC are communist, hate the US, are anti-semitic, and so on.


That video shows the huge hypocrisy of Graham. The New Yorker reports a few other Republican reactions, but most stopped short of the word “racist” and couched the criticisms in careful ways.

For the congressman Mike Turner, who represents Ohio’s Tenth District, which includes the city of Dayton, it seems like the answer came when Trump suggested on Sunday that Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib should “go back” to “the places from which they came,” even though, for three of them—Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and Tlaib—that would have meant quickening to the Bronx, Chicago, and Detroit, respectively. “I am confident that every Member of Congress is a committed American,” Turner wrote on Twitter on Monday. “@realDonaldTrump’s tweets from this weekend were racist and he should apologize. We must work as a country to rise above hate, not enable it.”

In defying the online maga trolls and Sean Hannitys of the world, Turner deserves credit. So does Will Hurd, of Texas, the only black Republican in the House, who said that Trump’s comments were “racist and xenophobic,” and also dumb. “While you had a civil war going on within the Democratic Party, between the far left and the rest of the Party, and now they have circled the wagons and are starting to protect one another,” Hurd told CNN.

The comments from Hurd and Turner were commendably direct and unvarnished. But they need to be placed in context. The hundred and sixteenth Congress contains a hundred and ninety-seven Republican representatives and fifty-three Republican senators. Of these two hundred and fifty profiles in courage, Hurd and Turner were the sole ones to specifically use the word “racist” to describe Trump’s attack. Other Republicans, even as they broke with Trump and criticized his comments, ransacked the thesaurus to avoid it.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, called Trump’s comments “spiteful.” Senator Tim Scott, of South Carolina, who is African-American, said they were “racially offensive.” Senator Susan Collins described them as “way over the line.” These three senators did also call on Trump to knock it off. Murkowski said the Twitter attacks were “absolutely unacceptable and this needs to stop.” Scott said, “Aiming for the lowest common denominator will only divide our nation further.” Collins, who is facing a reëlection race in 2020, called on Trump to take down his offensive tweets.

Senator Pat Toomey, of Pennsylvania, also issued a fairly strong statement, which excluded the term “racist” but took issue with Trump’s comments about the members of the Squad. “Three of the four were born in America and the citizenship of all four is as valid as mine,” he said in a statement released on Monday afternoon. “I couldn’t disagree more with these congresswomen’s views on immigration, socialism, national security, and virtually every policy issue. But they are entitled to their opinions, however misguided they may be. We should defeat their ideas on the merits, not on the basis of their ancestry.”…

As all this was going on, the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill was demonstrating, by its silence, that it is as cowed by Trump as ever. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, stayed out of view, and so did Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader. One of the few senior Republicans to comment was Senator John Cornyn, of Texas, who was the Majority Whip until January. Cornyn said that Trump’s comments were “a mistake, an unforced error.” But, as Politico reported, he also said he doesn’t “think the president’s a racist.”

Statements like this are weak: “Aiming for the lowest common denominator will only divide our nation further.” They actually merely give an excuse to call these Congresswomen the lowest of the low – the lowest common denominator.

So the Republicans, yet again, have been complicit in racism. I recently had a Facebook argument with someone who tried to convince me that the Democrats were the racist party of the US. Not in this decade, and not by a massive longshot. We aren’t living in the times of the Southern Democrats any more, we are living in times of overt racism by the POTUS, trying to gerrymander, change the census, and form dehumanising concentration camps on the border, whilst claiming that democratically elected  US citizens, people of colour, should go back to their crime-infested countries.

Public opinion of race relations show (before these tweets) that the perception is of it worsening, and that Trump is both racist and making it worse. Of course, this mainly, though not exclusively, runs along party lines (though 2 in 10 Republicans think Trump has worsened race relations). Things are certainly looking interesting for the Presidential race.

The new NBC/WSJ poll results show their first hypothetical general-election matchups for the 2020 race:

Biden 51%, Trump 42%
Sanders 50%, Trump 43%
Warren 48%, Trump 43%
Harris 45%, Trump 44%

One wonders how much thought goes into these tweets and whether it is calculated in some way to get, perhaps, the most radical Democrat elected (maybe a female) to give him the best chance of winning. There is good evidence to suggest he is most afraid of Biden, but that Biden is the least favoured of younger, more progressive Democrats.

Still, it remains to be seen what Trump actually has to do to raise the ire of Republican senators and congressmen as well as Republican voters. I think the only things he can do to annoy them and turn them off from their support is to announce that abortion is great and religion sucks and guns need regulating. They appear to be the only things that these people care about.


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