Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He refused to guarantee that there wasn't a recording of him using the n-word.

Trump's hostile views towards African-Americans over the years have been exhaustively documented. He's even helped spawn a resurgence of white supremacist movements in the United States, fueled by his refusal to condemn racial hatred--or, when pushed, to say that there are good and bad people on "both sides" of racism. 

Former reality TV star and director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault-Newman has said she has heard Trump using a racial slur on tape, and released a recording of her own in which other Trump administration officials discuss such an incident. Last night, in what appeared to have been his best effort to get ahead of the story, Trump claimed that he'd been offered assurance by the executive producer of The Apprentice that no footage existed in which he said the word. (As many people pointed out, saying a TV show has no recording of him using the word is a little less definitive than saying he doesn't use the word.)

At her briefing today, Sarah Huckabee Sanders had this exchange with NBC News reporter Kristen Welker:
Q Sarah, have you asked the President if he’s ever used the N-word? 
MS. SANDERS: The President addressed that question directly via Twitter. I would refer you back to him. I can certainly say I’ve never heard him use that term or anything similar. 
Q But have you — have you asked him directly, Sarah? 
MS. SANDERS: The President — I didn’t have to, because he addressed it to the American people all at one time. 
Q You haven’t asked him? Why haven’t you asked him directly? 
MS. SANDERS: Again, the President answered that question directly on Twitter earlier today. 
Q Can you stand at the podium and guarantee the American people will never hear Donald Trump utter the N-word on a recording in any context? 
MS. SANDERS: I can’t guarantee anything.
Trump, who rose to political prominence by pretending to believe that President Obama was born in Africa, and who called for the so-called "Central Park Five" to be sent back to prison after they had been cleared by DNA evidence of the rape they were accused of, and whose first appearance in the public eye was as the defendant in a housing discrimination case, and who enthusiastically called out a lone black attendee at a rally as "my African-American over here," and who called a few majority-black nations "shithole countries," and who said that Haitian immigrants "all have AIDS" and that Nigerian immigrants "won't want to go back to their huts," and who makes a point of calling his black critics stupid, and who seems to think that all African-Americans know one another, and who has had no senior African-American advisors as president except for the one he called a "dog" and a "wacky lowlife" today, and who is enthusiastically praised by white supremacy groups that were militantly anti-government before Trump took office, says that Omarosa is lying.

Why is this a bad thing?

  • The press secretary for the president of the United States should be able to guarantee that the president didn't use vile racial slurs on camera.
  • It's bad if Donald Trump used the n-word, but it's much, much worse that nobody would really be surprised by it.