President Donald Trump declared himself the “least racist person” in the world this week, and the media has responded at a fever pitch. Its principal way of establishing Trump is wrong on this, though, is to quote his known political enemies.
Slavery came to America through Jamestown, Va., but so did democracy, Robin Wright of the New Yorker wrote in “The Rhetoric and Reality of Donald Trump’s Racism.”
But “400 years later, the theme on Tuesday [at a celebration in Williamsburg, Va., commemorating the 400th anniversary of the Virginia House of Burgesses becoming the first elected assembly in the Western Hemisphere] was not the celebration of democracy but the stench of racism that has increasingly pervaded Trump’s presidency.”
She pointed to the president’s recent Twitter attacks on “four congresswomen of color and Rep. Elijah Cummings, an African-American politician who represents Baltimore. … The president says he is simply attacking his critics, but his remarks repeatedly smack of racism.”
Trump defends against attacks of racism by pointing out he has done more for African-Americans than any recent president, and numbers back him up. His economic policies have led to the lowest unemployment among black Americans since such statistics have been kept, his advocacy of opportunity zones, the sentencing reform legislation he worked with Democrats to pass and his lowering of poverty rates among African-Americans.
“This is statistically true,” Wright wrote. “But some experts question if Trump is solely responsible for it.”
Trump knows he is racist, so he does things to make it look otherwise, Chris Cillizza of CNN wrote in “The incredible racial overcompensation of Donald Trump.”
Cillizza recited Trump’s quote – “I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world. What I’ve done for African-Americans in 2 ½ years, no president has been able to do anything like it.” – then intones, “Which, well, wow.”
He then states, “The claim is, obviously, ridiculous. To state the obvious, there is no known measure that would allow us to quantify how racist or not a person is. And if that measure did exist, Donald Trump would not be the least racist person in the world – or anything close to it.”
Cillizza then misrepresents two of Trump’s best-known quotes. Trump’s presidency, Cillizza wrote, “has been marked by his comments that both sides were to blame for the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va.,” and “his recent tweets directed at freshman Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – in which he told the quartet, in essence, to go back where they came from.”
On Charlottesville, Trump said there were “fine people on both sides,” but explicitly excluded Nazis and white supremacists from that statement. On the Squad, he told them to go try their policy proposals in the failed lands they represent and, if they work, “come back and show us how it’s done.”
Cillizza then sought to psychoanalyze the president. “Somewhere in the recesses of his brain, Trump knows his record on race is, uh, short of stellar,” Cillizza wrote. “So to cover up for that, he overcompensates wildly. He’s not just not a racist. He is the least racist person in the world. He hasn’t just done some good things for the African-American community, he has done the best things ever.”
Huffington Post jumped in with “Trump Claims He’s ‘Least Racist Person’ While Calling Don Lemon ‘Dumbest Man’ on TV” – subhead: “The president attacked the CNN Democratic debate moderator, who is black, after multiple racist attacks on lawmakers this month,” by Jenna Amatulli.
“Trump called Lemon, who is black, ‘the dumbest man on television’ on Twitter Wednesday,” Amatulli wrote. “The president also insisted he is ‘the least racist person in the world,’ appearing to quote himself. In the last month, he has unleashed racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color, as well as Rep. Elijah Cummings and the predominantly black city of Baltimore.”