President Donald Trump recently claimed that he has done more for African-Americans than any U.S. president since Abraham Lincoln, but this is the same person who — during a MAGA rally this week — reiterated his belief that Rep. Ilhan Omar (a Somali immigrant) shouldn’t be “telling us how to run our country. His campaign has also focused on the message that low-income housing (a dog whistle for Black housing) will destroy the quality of life in suburbia. Journalist Greg Miller, in an in-depth report for the Washington Post, examines Trump’s problems with non-Anglo voters and how prominent an issue they are in the election
“In unguarded moments with senior aides,” Miller explains, “President Trump has maintained that Black Americans have mainly themselves to blame in their struggle for equality, hindered more by lack of initiative than societal impediments, according to current and former U.S. officials. After phone calls with Jewish lawmakers, Trump has muttered that Jews ‘are only in it for themselves’ and ‘stick together’ in an ethnic allegiance that exceeds other loyalties, officials said. Trump’s private musings about Hispanics match the vitriol he has displayed in public, and his antipathy to Africa is so ingrained that when First Lady Melania Trump planned a 2018 trip to that continent, he railed that he ‘could never understand why she would want to go there.’”
When confronted about racially insensitive remarks, Miller notes, Trump will insist that he has been a strong ally of Black voters — and yet, his cabinet is “overwhelmingly white and among the least diverse in recent U.S. history.”
Miller goes on to point out that people who have been close to Trump — including his niece Mary Trump, former ally Omarosa Manigault Newman and his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen — have all accused him of being overtly racist. Newman and his niece alleged that they heard Trump use racial slurs. And Miller notes some of the many examples of Trump using racism to rally his base — for example, Trump has forwarded “birther” tweets questioning Sen. Kamala Harris’ eligibility to be vice president and has “vowed to safeguard the legacies of Confederate generals while skipping the funeral of the late Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.), a civil rights icon.”
The Post reporter also points out that Trump infamously tweeted that four non-white congresswomen — Omar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Rep. Ayanna Pressley — should return to the countries they originally came from. But of the four, only Omar wasn’t born in the U.S., and the Somali immigrant has been a U.S. citizen for 20 years. In response to Trump railing against her again during his MAGA rally this week, Omar tweeted, “Firstly, this is my country & I am a member of the House that impeached you.”
Firstly, this is my country & I am a member of the House that impeached you.
Secondly, I fled civil war when I was 8. An 8-year-old doesn’t run a country even though you run our country like one. https://t.co/zcKKjdC8ju
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 23, 2020
At the rally this week, Trump said of Omar, “She’s telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? How was your country doing?”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Miller notes, has not been shy about calling out Trump’s racism.
“Given the country’s anguished history, it is hard to isolate Trump’s impact on the racial climate in the United States,” Miller observes. “But his first term has coincided with the most intense period of racial upheaval in a generation. And the country is now in the final stretch of a presidential campaign that is more explicitly focused on race — including whether the sitting president is a racist — than any election in modern American history.”