Whether it’s Racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, or sexism, we’ve seen multiple examples of each from the current resident of our White House. It started with the very first speech he ever gave as a candidate for president, the ‘golden elevator’ speech at Trump Tower in New York, when he stated that Mexican immigrants were rapists and drug dealers (although he did generously admit to assuming that some were good people). Among his most cringe-worthy statements were after Charlottesville, when he proclaimed there were “very fine people on both sides.”
To paraphrase something that former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said about his opponent during Florida’s Gubernatorial race last year: I’m not saying Donald Trump is a white supremacist and a white nationalist, but the white supremacists and white nationalists believe he is.
In the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history on Friday, a gunman opened fire in two different mosques, killing at least fifty people and wounding many more. The perpetrator’s manifesto referred to Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, as a “symbol of renewed white identity” and stated that Trump “shares a common purpose with me.” When Trump was later asked about the rise of white nationalism, he reportedly stated that it was limited to “a small group of people” and therefore he doesn’t believe it’s a problem.
Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s Acting White House Chief of Staff, recently sat for a televised interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News. Mulvaney most likely chose Fox because he believed he would find a sympathetic interviewer. While Wallace certainly didn’t play hardball with Mulvaney, he did ask some pointed questions: “To the degree that there is an issue with white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Muslim bigotry in this country, and there is an issue with that, why [does Trump] not deliver a speech condemning it?”
Mulvaney’s response, delivered while nervously chuckling, was “the president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that!” A word of advice for Mick: generally when you say the same thing over and over and people still don’t believe you, it’s because you’re frequently giving them reasons not to believe you.
Donald Trump will likely never give a speech condemning white supremacy and white nationalism. If he ever did, it would be only days, if not hours, before he started sending heated tweets that directly contradicted whatever he’d said in that speech. The reason is simple: a good portion of Trump’s base is made up of white supremacists and white nationalists.
Whether Trump holds these views himself or not, we’ll never know – we can’t see into his head – but we do know that he encourages these people every chance he gets, and he bends over backwards to ensure he doesn’t alienate them (even after one of them uses a car to run down and kill an innocent woman). What Trump himself believes is irrelevant. What truly matters is what Trump promotes, and what Trump promotes is white nationalism, white supremacy and racism.
Adrienne Lilly lives in Upstate New York with her two children. She works as a manufacturing engineer.