Those paying close attention have known the answer from the very start of his foray into politics, and indeed, decades before that. But this week the question has finally gone mainstream: “Is Donald Trump a racist?” Trump forced the issue when he said that he didn’t want immigrants coming from (black) countries like Haiti because they’re “shitholes” and he instead wants immigrants from (white) countries like Norway. After dodging the racism question all week, Trump finally offered an answer on Sunday night, and it was a doozy.
Trump had spent the weekend – where else – at one of his own golf properties. He remained on the golf course on Saturday while a false alarm sent Hawaiians into a panic about an imminent ballistic missile strike. He still has yet to publicly address the Hawaii crisis. But when he was cornered by a group of reporters on Sunday night and asked once again whether he’s a racist, he finally took the bait.
Trump declared “I am not a racist,” a predictable answer, but one which nonetheless serves to further cement this as the central question surrounding him. It evokes echoes of when Richard Nixon’s criminality became such a pressing question that he finally had to declare “I am not a crook.” But then Trump took things further, tacking on a bizarre addendum which served to undermine his initial straightforward answer.
Donald Trump went on to say “I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you.” (link). Here’s a hint: whenever you have to say that you’re the “least racist” or least anything, the hyperbolic nature of your response gives away that you know the accusation is in the process of sticking. Also, why did Trump mention interviews? It’s as if he didn’t even understand why he was being asked. Then again, considering that “Is Trump mentally incompetent?” is another pressing question surrounding him, he probably didn’t understand.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report