Of all the political mud and invective hurled at President-Elect Donald Trump and his recent cabinet appointees, one of the worst accusations has been the one labeling them casual racists. And yet, this baseless charge doesn’t seem like it will soon be going away, despite new attempts by some Democratic Party leaders and pundits to steer narratives away from this utter fiction.
Looking back, it seems that this talking point gained currency from the very beginning of Trump’s campaign when the real estate magnate conspicuously accused Mexico of sending criminals over the U.S. border in an effort to rid itself of undesirable elements of its society.
Because of the “10-second-soundbite” nature of television news, these statements were taken out of context, and Trump was accused of saying that all Mexicans were “rapists” and “criminals” when, in fact, Trump was careful to note in his speech that he was not referring to all Mexicans by any means.
Trump’s tough talk about Islamic extremism brought quick condemnation from knee-jerk liberals who immediately called Trump’s proposals to vet Muslim immigrants and/or stop them from entering U.S. borders racist. And yet, liberals are loath to acknowledge that it was Muslims who committed the 9/11 terror attacks, were behind the 2015 bombings in Paris and cruelly perpetrated the shootings in San Bernardino, Orlando and so many other places. And they committed them for political/religious reasons.
So, the idea of Trump as a racist quickly became ingrained, despite the fact that there’s no evidence that Trump harbored hatred for any of these people, save for America’s terrorist enemies.
Indeed, if Trump was a committed, dyed-in-the-wool racist, wouldn’t all of the contestants on his Apprentice program have been white? Wouldn’t he have refrained from asking Dr. Ben Carson to be one of his campaign advisors? Wouldn’t he have made sure his golf club Mar-a-Lago was like all the other golf clubs in Palm Beach, Florida and disallowed people of color and Jews memberships?
Wouldn’t Trump have given countless statements to the media endorsing racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and avowed racists like David Duke? Wouldn’t Trump have repudiated attention in his policies to a program called “The New Deal for Black America”?
The answers to all these questions would have been a frank “Yes” if Trump was an unabashed racist. But, in fact, Trump took the exact opposite approach in all of these situations, so it’s impossible to accuse him — or his cabinet members — of harboring racist sentiments or tendencies.
Indeed, as with spurious charges of homophobia, there’s a complete lack of proof whatsoever on Trump’s part (it’s impossible to find a hateful statement on the web that Trump has made about gay people, other than his objection to gay marriage years ago, which he later reversed — as did his campaign rival Hillary Clinton and President Barrack Obama).
For liberals, this is a Pinocchio moment; they can’t just keep accusing someone of something when all the evidence is pointing in the opposite direction.
The other day on CNN, anchor Anderson Cooper was surprisingly critical of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren for continuing to promulgate the lie that Trump’s new chief strategist and former Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon is a white supremacist. On Cooper’s “360” program, Warren claimed, “Donald Trump has doubled down on racism and bigotry. He’s got as his strategic adviser a person who’s a white supremacist and he’s now doubling down.” But Cooper quickly retorted, “Wait a minute. There’s no evidence he’s a white supremacist.”
Warren was forced to concede Cooper was correct, weakly backing down to the notion that Bannon might harbor racist ideas because a very tiny minority of people who are actually racist have endorsed him. “This is a guy whose appointment is applauded by the KKK,” Warren tried to argue, leaving out the fact that members of the KKK and their sympathizers account for less than one-tenth of one percent of the country’s population.
In fact, endorsements from racists that one immediately disavows may as well not be endorsements at all — if Kim Kardashian were to say she’s your biggest fan, does that mean you’re also a fan of hers? Rather than using a more concrete objection, progressives are finding that their charges of simple racism simply aren’t sticking; former television host and comedian Jon Stewart accused Democrats of being hypocrites for believing all Trump voters are racist just because a tiny fraction of them might be.
Like a bad hangover, these false charges for Trump and his cabinet picks are fading, and in a few months’ time, they’ll likely be looked at with ridicule.
Democrats who continue down this road will quickly find that there’s nothing to back them up; their charges might as well be a thin plastic film over a deep body of water; none of them is going to prevent someone from getting themselves wet.
Already, many would-be smear attackers of Trump have begun to back off racial issues in search of more fertile ground to plant their seeds of derision. For now, unlike Republicans, the Democrats’ search for a valid critique of their opposing party’s leader appears to have hit a wall.
As Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio said on Fox News, “We can’t keep going down the same road. … I’m pulling the fire alarm right now, is what I’m doing in the Democratic Party… We better get our act together or we’re going to cease being a national party. We’re going to be a regional party that fails to get into the majority and fails to do things on behalf of those working class people that were the backbone of the Democratic Party for so long.”