“I believe Donald Trump can’t read,” said The Root’s Michael Harriot on Friday, citing the president’s mangling of the name of Namibia during a speech to African leaders at the United Nations this week.
“Maybe ‘can’t’ is too harsh of a word,” Harriot wrote. “I think he struggles with multisyllabic words. This isn’t something I recently came up with when he was embarrassing the entire country in front of world leaders like he was taking an oral exam for a book he read on the way to class. I’ve known about his semi-literacy for years, but I think it’s time I outline my well-researched list of reasons why I believe this to be true.”
First of all, he said, President Donald Trump is a racist. It can be argued back and forth endlessly about whether he is — as Jemele Hill and others have said — a white supremacist, but “we must admit that he’s at least a little bit racist, right?”
Harriot said that in theory there may be intelligent, well-read racists somewhere in the world, but they aren’t the ones sending him hate mail. And the people who send him that hate mail “all possess a remarkable deficiency when it comes to reading and grammatical ability.”
Secondly, Harriot posted a Chris Hayes video about Trump’s uneasy relationship with Teleprompters.
Furthermore, if you go by his policies, Harriot wrote, it’s clear Trump has never read the Constitution.
Perhaps, he said, something in the bronzer the president uses is interfering with Trump’s cognition.
“That safety-vest colored spray-tan shit he sprays himself down with probably has some Thalidomide or lead in it. I bet it does. That’s probably why Bert was a little slow on Sesame Street. It’s the toxins,” wrote Harriot.
The most direct and glaring clue of all, though, is that Trump has said he doesn’t read.
“During the presidential campaign, Trump told the Washington Post that he doesn’t have time to read and he never has. This might explain the reason why he thought Andrew Jackson could have prevented the Civil War even though Jackson died 15 years before the Civil War started,” Harriot said.
The Root is not the first media outlet to suggest that Trump struggles with basic reading. Samantha Bee raised the question during the 2016 campaign to demonstrate how easy it is to spin random scraps of information into a plausible-sounding conspiracy theory.