Jesse Berney writes: The moment that struck me in Trump’s make-up speech Monday afternoon wasn’t when he declared racism “evil” or finally name-checked the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists. It was his remark about the flag. “No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws,” he said. “We all salute the same great flag.”
Maybe Trump should have watched the news a little more closely this weekend. If he had, he might have seen large numbers of Americans carrying and saluting flags that weren’t the Stars and Stripes. Confederate flags, obscure racist insignia and straight-up swastikas were all on display.
The racists and Nazis and white supremacists of all stripes who carried that flag were heartened by Trump’s failure to denounce them or their ideology in the immediate aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville and the murder of Heather Heyer. And his tepid, reluctant, TelePrompTer-fed denunciation of racism days later appears to have done little to discourage their belief that he supports them in the deepest, darkest, most wizened recesses of his heart.
Though it’s technically true that no one but Donald Trump knows what’s in Donald Trump’s heart, he’s given us some pretty good clues. He likely thinks swastika-toting Nazis and hood-wearing KKK members are bad guys – those are the easy targets everyone knows we’re supposed to denounce – but the entitled, clean-cut, polo-wearing, torch-bearing racists chanting about how they won’t be replaced? Those are the people who put him into office. They’re his people. And they know he’s their leader because they know Donald Trump is, like they are, racist.
Oh, they wouldn’t put it that way. They think the real racism is the affirmative action that gives people of color a chance in a world that hands people who look like me privilege from birth. They believe the real racists are the ones who declare black lives matter. (“What, ours don’t?”) But like the president they cheer, they’re racist as hell.
You don’t even have to look into Trump’s heart to see his racism. You only have to look at all the things he’s done and said over the years – from the early Seventies, when he settled with the Justice Department over accusations of housing discrimination, to Monday, when just hours after his speech news broke he is considering pardoning anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio. [Continue reading…]