United States of America President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed is, among other things, a gift to historians. No major historical figure has provided so thorough a public, real-time account of their daily thoughts and feelings.
Future generations of Americans and abroad will almost certainly look back on this era with horror and astonishment—and thanks to his stream-of-consciousness social-media habits, they’ll have the raw material to understand almost everything about him, from race, ego and politics.
His racial views stand out and are made explicit by his rhetoric and actions toward people of colour; no interpretation necessary. But his definition of racism and how he wields the term in public debate is worthy of sustained analysis.
As with any interrogation of Trump’s random musings, there is no coherent and comprehensive worldview to be unearthed here. But there are two consistent themes to Trump’s use of “racist” over the past decade, and they show how white supremacy shapes his approach to American politics today.
In 2018, the US president made headlines when he reportedly referenced to Haiti and African nations during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators as “sh*thole countries”.
“Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?”
Though he seemingly denied the comments on, senators of both parties have said the account is accurate.
For generations in the US, this reference purportedly made by Mr Trump or any variation of “go back where they came from” was used to advance a racist/nationalist agenda. It was applied to the Irish, Poles, and Jews over 150 years ago and it is now applied to Hispanics, indigenous Central and South Americans and African and Middle Eastern immigrants.
There are only two reasons that a statesman or politician would use this phrase, one analyst pointed out. One is that the speaker is a racist who believes that certain ethnic, religious or political groups are such an inherent threat that they should be removed from the American society.
The other reason would be that the politician is consciously using the phrase in a calculated manner to energise the white supremacist/nationalist support base.
Palpably, beyond his “sh*thole countries” remark, Mr Trump has a long history of saying racist things. This is the man who in 1973 was sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination, alleging that he and his company refused to sell apartments to Black people.
Commenting on Mr Trump’s alleged racist tendencies, Sophie Bjork-James, a Vanderbilt University anthropologist who studies white nationalism, told Refinery29 that Trump’s racist remarks inevitably resonate with white nationalists, since they believe people of colour are inferior.
“He has a long history of talking about racialised groups in disparaging ways, from referring to Mexicans as rapists to advocating for a ban on Muslims. All of these ideas are held by white nationalists,” she said.
She added that though Trump has emboldened white nationalist groups, that’s not the risk we should be worrying about so much.
“The biggest danger of these kinds of comments is not the emboldening of the organised racist— although this is sure to happen — but the potential normalising of racist ideas,” she said. “The more normal these extreme ideas become the more dangerous.”
Mr Trump has, however, claimed at numerous times that he is “the least racist person that you’ve ever encountered,” although his record shows otherwise.
And guess who else thinks Trump is not a racist? God; the Supreme Being, creator deity; the principal object of our faith; Omniscient (all-knowing), Omnipotent (all-powerful) and the Omnipresent (all-present).
Appearing on The Jim Bakker Show on Tuesday, Pastor Francis Myles (who believes you can “supernaturally change your DNA“) explained that Donald Trump wasn’t racist. How does he know? Because he asked God.
“I asked God about that. And I said, I said, “God” — and you know… it’s good to know God where you can talk to him… because He really wants to talk to us about these day-to-day issues. And I said to the Lord, “You know, Lord, is Trump a racist?”
And God said to me — it was the fastest “No” God has ever given me. He says, “No, he’s not.”
Well. I guess that settles everything.
Pastor Myles’ “God” is blissfully ignoring all the evidence of Trump being racist, from refusing to rent apartments to African American tenants, to his comments about “sh*thole” countries, to Birtherism, to defending white supremacists, to his recent attacks against congresswomen of colour even though other white Democrats have said similar things, to everything in between.
Or maybe Myles reacted too soon and God had not finished his statement.
In any case, whitewashing or ignoring Trump’s racism is a hallmark for today’s American conservatives. They can’t even handle being reminded of slavery.
Watch the clip of the show here.
Pastor Francis Myles asked God if Trump is racist and God said that he isn’t, so that settles that. pic.twitter.com/3BDzhH9gKY
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) August 20, 2019
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