Donald Trump once said he has a good relationship with “the Blacks” and he said “I cherish women” after making misogynist and sexist statements. But the billionaire and reality show star turned presidential candidate has provided yet another reason for both demographic groups to shun him.
Trump criticized Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders by saying his rival “showed such weakness” when two #BlackLivesMatter activists—both Black women—took the microphone and interrupted his event in Seattle last weekend.
“I thought that was disgusting. That showed such weakness, the way he was taken away by two young women,” Trump said at a press conference. “That will never happen with me. I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself, or if other people will, but that was a disgrace.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 12, 2015
There is a need to unpack Trump’s comment, which is both racist and sexist, and examine it more closely. Pointing to the two young women who disrupted Sanders’ event, he suggests that women are to be dominated by men, and no real man would allow what took place in Seattle. Suggesting there would be fighting at his event under such circumstances, he advocates physical violence against women. Further, by using the words “disgusting” and “disgrace,” Trump demeans and denigrates the entire movement these Black women represent, their reason for being on the stage at the Sanders event, and the context—the killing of Black women, children and men, and the injustices they experience.
Trump is promoting the concept of white male domination, the notion that white men are here to conquer, control and subordinate people, and should be hailed for doing so. This is a theme that has remained constant throughout the American empire—from the land theft and genocide of the Native peoples to the kidnapping, rape and enslavement of Africans by the “Founding Fathers”—it is fine, even preferable, to use violence, physical force and disruption to one’s benefit. Donald Trump speaks with a brand of arrogance that has been celebrated throughout history and lauded as brave and courageous.
At the recent Republican debates in Cleveland, Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly cited Trump’s offensive comments towards women.
“You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,” she said, addressing the candidate.
“I will be phenomenal to the women. I want to help women,” Trump recently told CBS News, as if to deflect attention away from his misogyny and change the subject.
His racist comments have drawn attention as well.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us,” Trump said when he announced his candidacy in June. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
In addition, Trump has advocated building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and has claimed that terrorists from the Middle East have crossed the border. In addition, as Marcum Baram of the Huffington Post reported in 2011, allegations of racism have become a recurring theme in Trump’s career. As Trump questioned President Obama’s nationality and the validity of his birth certificate, he was also accused of making racial slurs against Black people, according to John R. O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, in the book, Trumped!
O’Donnell wrote that Trump once said “laziness is a trait in blacks,” and told O’Donnell of Black accountants: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
On an NBC program, Trump once told Bryant Gumbel, “If I was starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black because I really do believe they have the actual advantage today.”
He once blamed all the violence in America on Blacks and Latinos. Further, in 1973, Trump’s real estate company was sued by the Justice Department, alleging the Trump Management Corporation discriminated against Blacks who wanted to rent apartments in New York City, charging different rental terms and conditions to Blacks and whites and lying to Blacks that apartments were unavailable.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has noted that Trump’s presidential run is receiving support from white nationalists.
“Trump’s candidacy comes at a very unique time. The Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage and the move by Southern states to remove the Confederate Battle flag from government property, has created a vacuum for a right-wing populist candidate,” SPLC wrote on its website. “And Trump was on hand to fill the void and answer to a sense of rage growing on the radical right. His willingness to speak up about issues dear to the white nationalist cause, and his challenge to the two-party system, are what many white nationalists find most appealing.”
The group notes that a white nationalist group known as the White Genocide Project started a White House petition calling on President Obama to honor Trump for “opposing white genocide.” The group claims that, “Diversity is a code word for white genocide.”
In an open letter to the presidential candidates in Time magazine, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had some thoughtful words about the moment in which the nation finds itself regarding the race issue. Articulating the significance of #BlackLivesMatter within the context of Donald Trump and his support among angry whites, the NBA legend argued that the discussion on race has been derailed by Trump’s “funhouse candidacy,” but the candidate should not distract from the movement.
“Many of you candidates—including the only black candidate, Ben Carson—have used the more mundane phrase, ‘All Lives Matters,’ which appeases racism deniers. This is cowardly because it completely ignores the problem and panders to the least politically informed constituency,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Americans are used to candidates competing to see who can best ingratiate themselves to the demands of reclusive billionaire backers and fringe groups, but this goes too far.”
Abdul-Jabbar suggested that Trump is all talk, offering no valid solutions for the issues he’s so obsessed with.
“Trump is succeeding at taking the Grumpy Old Grandpa approach: complain without offering practical solutions,” he added. “It’s likely that his supporters are mostly the disenfranchised older, white, middle-class conservatives who already feel marginalized and invisible.”
Abdul-Jabbar warned the candidates that, “By ignoring the ‘Black Lives Matter’ issue, you’re proclaiming your political position that, ‘All life matters, but some lives matter more than others.’ Let’s see how that works out for you next November.”