By Raoul Lowery Contreras
Racism is manifested by words and actions. Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer and “fixer” to President Donald Trump, declared at a Congressional hearing that his former client is a racist. His proof? Language he attributes to Trump.
For example, Cohen says Trump told him that African-Americans wouldn’t vote for him because they were “too stupid.” Is this a racist statement? Sure. But would that statement be real proof, even if truly made? Maybe not.
Calling black-run countries like Haiti “s**thole countries” is a better example, especially when backed up by another statement about wondering if any black-run country was successfully governed, a statement Trump allegedly made while Barack Obama was President.
Fact: In 1973, Donald Trump and his father were sued by the Nixon-era Department of Justice for illegally denying rental units to blacks and Hispanics in violation of federal law. After initially fighting, the Trumps effectively lost. They signed a consent decree. It included ending illegal racist actions against minority applicants for apartments in Ohio and New York City.
Fact: Trump raises fear of MS-13, a tiny organized gang of Salvadorans in speeches about their “savagery.” The gang’s presence is concentrated around Washington, D.C., New York’s Long Island and a handful of Los Angeles County neighborhoods. There are seven or eight larger and more dangerous gangs that the President never mentions. On the other hand, Trump suggested that radical white supremacist demonstrators in Charlottesville included “fine people.”
Fact: Trump’s incessant insulting of Mexicans tell us much about his views of the almost 200 million people living in America’s largest neighbor. To declare, as Trump did when he announced for President, that Mexico sends criminals, rapists and drug smugglers, is racist on its face.
Fact: In the case of the “Central Park Five,” Trump campaigned for the death penalty for five young black and Puerto Rican men alleged to have raped and beaten a young white woman. Trump purchased full page newspaper ads to convince New Yorkers to convict the five. And they were indeed convicted by a jury that he obviously influenced. But after several years in prison, the men were exonerated.
Fact: Trump took up the blatantly racist “birther” cause, arguing that President Obama was not a natural-born citizen and therefore ineligible to be President. Obama was born in Hawaii and is obviously a citizen.
Allegations do not supersede facts. Facts are stubborn and must be reckoned with by people who might be “too stupid” to evaluate them.
President Abraham Lincoln has been called a “racist” for using words he uttered early in his political career. But, what do the facts show? By today’s standards, and by his elimination of slavery, Lincoln was not a racist. President Trump, on the other hand, does not fare well when facts are evaluated and understood.
Cohen is right. Trump is what Cohen said he is: a racist. He has been ever since he discriminated against blacks and Hispanics by denying them apartments in 1973.
Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant and author of the new book White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPS) & Mexicans. His work has appeared in the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate.
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