Trump’s history of racism
From the first time Trump appeared in the New York Times to his “law and order” candidacy, it’s not a pretty picture.
The main difficulty Trump faces in dispelling the impression that he is a racist is that Trump is, in fact, a gigantic racist. His first appearance in the New York Times came in the context of his being caught refusing to rent apartments to African-Americans. A former Trump employee has detailed a series of private racist statements and acts — saying “laziness is a trait in blacks,” objecting to black people working for him in accounting, his staff shooing black people off the casino floor when he arrived. Trump hasreplied that the comments were “probably true,” but berated the person who made them as a “loser.” He has questioned the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate, called him a “terrible student,” and implied he only made it into Harvard Law School due to affirmative action.
Trump’s gambit reportedly centers on Hillary Clinton’s support for the 1994 crime bill. That law, which was supported at the time by most African-Americans in Congress, was attacked by Republicans for spending too much money on crime-prevention programs rather than police and prisons. (Republicans made “midnight basketball,” an effective program for young African-American males in high-crime urban neighborhoods, the subject of special derision.) The crime bill, though, has since fallen out of favor, especially among liberals, who fault its punitive approach. Trump plans to exploit Clinton’s support for that bill, following “a private poll of black voters,” which finds “that their support [for Clinton] dips once they learn about her advocacy for the 1994 crime bill.”
Attacking Clinton for having supported punitive crime policies two decades ago is quite a turn for Trump, who is running on a platform of punitive crime policies right now. It was only last month when he made the entire theme of his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention “law and order,” promising a brutal crackdown on crime, and lambasted Obama for encouraging black criminals by calling attention to police mistreatment of African-Americans. Trump also once spent his own money on a newspaper ad calling for five minority youths to be executed for a rape they turned out not to have committed.