In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts to bring black and white America together, the New York Times has chosen to stoke arguments over race by amassing a collection of allegedly racist quotes by Donald Trump. The piece is titled: Donald Trump’s Racism:The Definitive List. In many places, the alleged examples of racism are dishonest and absurd. Time and time again, truthful statements by Trump are deemed to be “racist.” It’s shoddy work, and the Times ought to be deeply ashamed.
Let’s pick apart some specific examples, so you can see just how shameless this list is. I’m going to start by debunking one of the allegations at some length, because the claim of racism makes me so angry that I want you to see, in detail, why it’s so dishonest and outrageous. The Times claims:
- He uses the gang MS-13 to disparage all immigrants. Among many other statements, he has suggested that Obama’s protection of the Dreamers — otherwise law-abiding immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children — contributed to the spread of MS-13.
This is not “racist.” It’s 100% true. In June 2014, there was a crisis at the border, particularly at the Texas border, because of Barack Obama’s DACA policy. A Washington Times story reported that immigrants were surging across the border, including large numbers of children, because of immigration policy. TV stations in Guatemala were broadcasting the message: “Go to America with your child, you won’t be turned away.” The Obama administration’s reaction to this, according to Border Patrol memos at the time, was to allow members of MS-13 into the country:
Border Patrol officials struggling to keep up with the increasing number of minors illegally crossing the Mexican border are not turning away persons with known gang affiliations. Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 in the Rio Grande Valley, explained that a Border Patrol agent he represents helped reunite a teenage gang member with his family in the United States. Cabrera notes the young member of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), a transnational criminal gang, had no criminal record in the U.S., but asks, “If he’s a confirmed gang member in his own country, why are we letting him in here?”
“I’ve heard people come in and say, ‘You’re going to let me go, just like you let my mother go, just like you let my sister go. You’re going to let me go as well, and the government’s going to take care of us,’” Cabrera says. “Until we start mandatory detentions, mandatory removals, I don’t think anything is going to change. As a matter of fact, I think it’s going to get worse.”
Art Del Cueto, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, says agents who recognize the gang-affiliated tattoos of minors crossing the border must treat them the same as anybody else. He says these people are afforded the same rights provided to anyone crossing the border.
The U.S. government at the time told a Texas federal judge that the cartels control the human smuggling process. So in fact, the cartels were using Obama’s policies to deliver young foot soldiers into the country. Many young males who came over the border after Obama announced the DACA policy admitted to being MS-13 members, and to having committed murders and other violent acts for the cartels.
But according to the New York Times, it’s “racist” for Donald Trump to point that out. Gotcha.
The New York Times also makes this claim of “racism” by Trump:
- In 1989, on NBC, Trump said: “I think sometimes a black may think they don’t have an advantage or this and that. I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I really believe they do have an actual advantage.”
Again: this is not “racist.” It’s true. Affirmative action was in full swing in 1989 and remains so today. As someone with a high school senior daughter applying to college, it’s crystal clear to me that my daughter would have a large advantage over her current circumstances if she had the same grades, test scores, activities, awards, and so forth — and were also black. It would make her an absolute shoo-in at universities where she will likely be rejected. It’s not “racism” to note that well-educated blacks have a leg up on their peers in many ways.
Another example of a supposedly “racist” comment by Trump:
- Trump frequently claimed that Obama did not work hard as president.
I’ll grant you that Trump’s criticism of Obama as someone who spent too much time playing golf seems comical today, as the Linksman in Chief never misses a chance to whack the little white ball around the course. But calling Trump’s criticism of Obama’s schedule “racism” reminds us that, according to Big Media, every criticism of Obama by everyone under the sun was racism. Give me a break. Every single president in modern history has been criticized by the opposition for the length and expense of their vacations, for the amount of time they spend golfing (if they golf), and so forth. Calling it “racism” when this completely normal criticism is applied to Obama is absurd.
Another allegation of “racism”:
- Trump endorsed and campaigned for Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate who spoke positively about slavery and who called for an African-American Muslim member of Congress not to be seated because of his religion.
Trump endorsed the Republican, after initially supporting a different Republican in the primary. And while Roy Moore and Donald Trump have both said things designed to appeal to bigots, it’s not true that Roy Moore “spoke positively of slavery.” The most you can say is that Moore said to an audience member: “You asked me [inaudible] when was [America] ever great” and said in part: “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery…” Those may not be the words you’d like to hear coming out of your candidate’s mouth, but it is not speaking positively of slavery. Again, this accusation of racism on Trump’s part for simply supporting the Republican is a total dud.
Here’s more alleged racism from Trump:
- In a November 2017 meeting with Navajo veterans of World War II, Trump mocked Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas.”
Placing to one side the way that Trump always botches the joke (the actual joke is “Fauxcahontas”), this is not racism. If Warren were an actual Native American and Trump called her Pocahontas, it might be bigoted. But the screamingly obvious point that the Times omits here is that Warren’s claim of Native American ancestry is almost certainly false, and has consequently been the target of mockery for years.
There are plenty of examples where Trump has indeed seemingly made an appeal to bigots. Remember his refusal to denounce David Duke by pretending not to know who Duke was, when he had quit the Reform Party over Duke? Remember how he blamed it on a bad earpiece, even though he had actually said the words “David Duke”? Remember when he said a judge was prejudiced against him because, he said, the judge was “Mexican” (the judge was born in Indiana)? There are plenty more examples like this, which might not be “racism” per se but which indicate a desire to appeal to the bigoted members of society. Had the Times stuck with those examples, they would have been on more solid ground.
But no: they instead decided to classify as racism things that are unquestionably true, and to lie and distort and mislead in the process. It’s a disgusting display, and they should be ashamed — if they had the capacity for shame. Which they don’t.
As the saying goes, this is how you got Trump.