Monday January 15, 2018
Presidential MLK Day Message: 'I Am Not a Racist'
“I am not a racist.”
Could there be a more profound message from the president of the United States on Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend?
In remarks to reporters at a dinner photo opportunity with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump said when asked if he is a racist, “No, I'm not a racist. I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed.”
No need to bring up the litany of racist behavior again. Probably enough to mention the Central Park Five case, in which a woman jogger, a white investment banker, was brutally beaten and raped in Central Park in 1989 and five black kids, ages 14 to 16, were charged with the crime. They were innocent. DNA evidence later proved it. It proved it then, if we were willing to look at it. We weren't. Neither was Donald Trump, who took out a full-page ad in the New York Times urging a return to the death penalty. Can you imagine if we'd put these kids to death? Then found out? Then realized all the signs we'd missed?
You now what doesn't get enough attention about Trump's walkback lines like the above? How it plays with his base. He's got a core constituency that's racist at its heart but such declarations don't ever make them waver in their support for him. I guess it means they know he's lying. And they're fine with that. They're fine with the president of the United States lying on a regular basis to the American people—as long as he stays racist.
Happy MLK Day.