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Melissa Harris-Perry’s Response When People Claim We Can’t Have a Racist President: ‘Since When?’

During a Tuesday, Dec. 13 forum hosted by The Atlantic focusing on gender, Wake Forest University professor and journalist Melissa Harris-Perry commented on President-elect Donald Trump’s sexual assault and racism allegations.

Harris-Perry told a packed audience that Trump’s victory is not an anomaly but a trend. In fact, the former MSNBC anchor posited that in many cases, racism was a prerequisite to win over voters and sexism did not hinder men seeking the coveted office.

“I am not even vaguely surprised by the idea that sexual assault would not be a disqualifier for the American presidency,” Harris-Perry says.

Back in October, The Washington Post released footage from 2005 of Trump and former “Access Hollywood” co-host Billy Bush jokingly discussing lewd sexual acts the president-elect could do to fans.

“Grab them by the p—y,” Trump says in the clip. “You can do anything.” The tape caused the GOP presidential nominee to temporarily fall in the polls, but ultimately, it did not stop him from winning the White House.

“I was mostly irritated every time people would say, ‘Oh God, we can’t have a racist be the American president’ because I kept wondering, ‘Since when?’” Harris-Perry continues. “For most of American history, racism has been a prerequisite to win the American presidency. One had to actually demonstrate one’s racism in order to become the American president. And the same was certainly true of sexism, and even of sexual assault.”

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