Why it doesn't matter how many times Donald Trump condemns racism.
The following is an excerpt of my analysis in Epoch Times.
It’s all the rage. Political figures are urged to apologize for something offensive they said or did. Their opponents hound them, often even dictating the precise verbiage the offender is supposed to use in his mea culpa… or else. “Disavow!” “Condemn!” The funny thing is the apology typically doesn’t change anything. The politician is usually only sorry that he got caught.
It’s a game. Most everyone knows it but still plays it— because the media demands it.
A related phenomenon is the trend of demanding that politicians disavow or condemn something they, themselves, did not do. Of course, the goal often isn’t really to get the politician to disavow. And instead of saving him, an expression of regret may ultimately end his political career.
Such is the case with demands that President Trump disavow racism, white supremacy, or some other variation of hateful behavior based on skin color. It’s worth noting how often he has explicitly done so: as much as, if not more, than any modern politician— quite possibly because his enemies so frequently demand it.
I put the cries for former Vice President Joe Biden to disavow Antifa violence in the same category. You can argue that he took too long to do it, or you can quibble with the wording he chose. But if the media were to demand that Biden use prescribed wording to condemn a particular kind of violence during most every subsequent public appearance he makes, it really only would serve to tar him with Antifa’s bad acts.
As I’ve recounted in my new book, the Trump-as-a-racist invention was largely popularized in August of 2016. Yes, the New York Times and others flirted with the label months earlier. But it was the smear group Media Matters and its affiliates that bore down on it after the Trump-as-a-clown and Trump-as-dark-and-dangerous narratives didn’t seem to dissuade supporters. In fact, he seemed to grow more popular.
You might not believe it but, as the liberal University of Texas professor Alberto Martinez tracked, the media’s description of Trump radically changed when he entered the race for president.
“In 2004, a CNN documentary described Trump as ‘beloved,’ ‘the world’s most popular businessman,’ ‘literally the gold standard, ‘a national phenomenon,’ ‘Trump has always
worked hard and lived clean,’ and ‘He really is very smart, very sassy,
very tough, but a warm and caring guy’ ” says Martinez.
Then over about a week’s time in 2016, the collective Media Matters propaganda groups, including Blue Nation Review, began a theme and memes of Trump and his supporters as “white nationalists.” In just six days, Blue Nation Review published articles titled “Trump Shakes Up Staff, Embraces White Nationalism,” “Trump’s Purity Test for Immigrants Is More Evidence of His White Nationalist Plans,” “Trump Is Seeking a White Nationalist Awakening NOT the White House,” “NEW VIDEO: Trump Is Now Leading a White Nationalist ‘Awakening,’ ” “Is Trump’s New ‘America First’ App Designed to Connect White Nationalists?,” and “Trump Delivers Anti-Black Rant: ‘You’re Living in Poverty, Your Schools Are No Good.’ ”
Yes, somehow (according to his opponents) The Donald had fooled Hollywood and the media for 70 years before being unmasked as the unmitigated racist that he is today.
Sure, Mar A Lago was segregated when Trump bought it. And, yes, he sued the City of Palm Beach to open it up to blacks and Jews for the first time. But that was just for business reasons. Indeed, he was praised by civil rights activist Jesse Jackson. But that was in the old days before we— knew. Yes, African Americans Dr. Ben Carson (HUD Secretary) and Dr. Jerome Adams (U.S. Surgeon General) hold high positions in the administration. And Trump holds black leadership events at the White House, has been endorsed by many black ministers, has been thanked by the head of the United Negro College Fund for providing permanent funding for historically black colleges and universities ($250 million a year), threw support behind Sen. Tim Scott’s idea for opportunity zones to benefit minority neighborhoods, and led the country as the unemployment rate for blacks fell to its lowest ever. But that’s just a smokescreen.
Trump disguising his true racism, his enemies would have us believe, is a subterfuge almost as clever as him being a woman-hater but naming so many women to top spots in his administration, or being an immigrant-hater though he married two immigrants and his children are children of immigrants. Or being anti-Semitic while moving the US embassy to Israel’s capital of Jerusalem and winning praise fromIsrael’s Prime Minister. What will he do next? Adopt a dog to hide the fact that he hates animals? Clever, that Trump! The point is, Trump’s critics claim they know what he’s really all about because he refuses to disavow white supremacy.
The folly of this line of thinking is exposed when one looks at the record. Trump has, indeed, disavowed racism, but it hasn’t changed much of anything about how his enemies portray him.
As early as 2000, Trump distanced himself from racial hatred. NBC’s Matt Lauer interviewed Trump about the Reform Party, which Trump called “self-destructing” because of its affiliation with racists.
“What do you see as the biggest problem with the Reform Party right now?” asked Lauer.
“Well, you’ve got David Duke [former leader of the racist group Ku Klux Klan] just joined — a bigot, a racist, a problem. I mean, this is not exactly the people you want in your party,” replied Trump at the time.
The same year, the New York Times reported that Trump stated, “The Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep.” (Continued...)
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