Election 2020PoliticsStacy M. Brown

Has ‘Unhinged Trump’ Secured ‘Political Popularity’ Through Racist Tropes?

‘Unhinged’ serves as a continuing series developed by The Washington Informer which seeks to chronicle the unpredictable and sometimes questionable behavior of Donald Trump, including potential instances of race-baiting, while providing closer scrutiny of multiple examples of the president’s statements or positions, proven to be false or unfounded, that have marked his presidency.

On Nov. 10, 2016, journalist Jesse Washington penned a column published in The Undefeated which lamented what new president Donald Trump’s reign would mean for African Americans.

Washington, a senior writer for the news website, noted that “On the morning after Trump’s election win over Hillary Clinton, a unique wave of despair, anger, fear, and depression washed over much of Black America.”

“Some folks cried. [Some] sought refuge in the Bible. [Some] comforted frightened children,” Washington wrote.

“Or,” he noted, many “steeled themselves for life under a president who has retweeted white supremacists, promised to increase stop-and-frisk policing in poor Black neighborhoods, falsely connected Mexican immigrants to crime and launched his political brand by attacking the legitimacy of the first Black president’s birth certificate.”

And, while plenty of white Hillary Clinton supporters also felt strong emotions after Trump’s victory, the demagogue’s track record on race seemed to make his triumph cut deeper and feel more personal to many African Americans.

Now, just weeks before the 2020 general election, Trump remains unrelenting in his rhetoric on race. In a bold reminder of what serves as overt racism from the so-called most powerful man in the world, Trump blasted away at a California schools’ decision to incorporate a curriculum based on the New York Times’ [NYT] Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project which has since been developed into school lessons.

“Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded,” Trump tweeted.

The NYT project reframes American history around August 1619 when the first ship carrying slaves arrived on our nation’s shores.

The unhinged president has also remained at war with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser – one of many African-American women and leaders who he’s consistently attacked.

The mayor’s office recently announced recommendations proposed by a city task force, recommended renaming nearly 50 D.C. sites whose namesakes “don’t reflect the values of District residents,” ranging schools honoring Woodrow Wilson, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Jefferson to government buildings named after Francis Scott Key and Andrew Jackson.

The White House immediately stated on behalf of the president that Trump “believes these places should be preserved, not torn down, respected, not hated and passed on for generations to come.”

“As long as President Trump is in the White House, the mayor’s irresponsible recommendations will go absolutely nowhere, and as the mayor of our nation’s capital city – a city that belongs to the American people – she ought to be ashamed for even suggesting them for consideration,” the statement continued.

If his astringent quarrel with Bowser appears more subdued in comparison to his usual tone, Trump didn’t hold back when speaking to journalist Bob Woodward during more than 18 now-infamous in-person interviews and telephone calls.

Woodward told the president, whom the House impeached in January, that they share one thing: “We’re white, privileged. My father was a lawyer and a judge in Illinois and we know what your dad did. Do you have any sense that that privilege has isolated and put you in a cave, to a certain extent, as it put me and I think lots of white, privileged people in a cave? And that we have to work our way out of it to understand the anger and the pain [that Black people particularly] feel in this country?”

Trump, who famously said of African Americans during his 2016 election campaign, “What the hell do you have to lose,” responded, “No. You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all.”

As he had done since taking office, Trump repeatedly refuses to acknowledge that Blacks face systemic discrimination and are disproportionately killed by the police.

Throughout his four years, Trump has reminded anyone willing to listen what Jean-Max Hogarth, a 49-year-old physician from Maryland, told the journalist Washington back in 2016.

“Trump created his political popularity by using racist techniques of the birther issue and he never apologized,” he said. “And his unwillingness to denounce the KKK, I think he was attempting to appeal to the worst of the American nature – that racism which is the original sin of America.”

“And he tapped into the very thing that has historically prevented African Americans and poor whites from really understanding their similar needs and interests. They don’t understand the level of racism this man displayed,” he said.

 

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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