The media are tying themselves up in knots speculating about whether there is a tape out there showing Donald Trump tossing out the “N-word,” as his longtime protegé, former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, has asserted. Many of those engaged in this speculation are under the impression that such a tape would make some type of difference to the American public. Some have concluded it would make a big difference, others believe that its impact would be negligible.
For those who somehow think such a recording would make a whit of difference to Trump’s approval among his base of support, though, The New York Times’ Charles Blow is prepared to throw a bucket of cold water over their expectations.
“I think if you found a tape of him saying the ‘N-word,’ it might actually increase his support among the people who support him,” Blow said on CNN Wednesday.
“This does nothing to them, they are so baked in, they believe wholeheartedly in this approach that he is taking and none of these insults to people who look like me hurt them because it is not them,” continued Blow, who is black. “And it is not a betrayal of their belief of him, it is not a betrayal of what they want him to do. This is exactly what they want him to do.”
In an interview with CNN this morning (excerpted in the Newsweek article linked above), Blow really highlights the dichotomy between the way that those in the media see this issue, and the way Trump’s supporters see it. For them, Trump calling a black man the N-word would fulfill their wildest fantasies. It would validate everything they’ve always admired about Trump but were too inhibited by pesky social norms to say out loud. They would go to their graves, happy at last that someone had finally given voice to their virulent racism, that irresistible compulsion so strong it outweighs (hopefully, anyway) their desire to reproduce:
“If you’re still supporting him after Charlottesville,” Blow said, “If you’re still supporting him after what he said about Haiti and an African country, if you’re still supporting him what he said about Mexicans, if you’re still supporting him after he said that Islam hates us, then this is what you want from him.”
At the outset of the interview, Blow raises the fact that the media have, during the entire tenure of this administration, suffered from a disconnect between the narrative they want to believe about Trump, and the facts about him—his words and his actions– that have been right before their eyes for years. Blow says that to keep “questioning” whether Trump is, in fact, a committed racist and misogynist only serves to undermine the plain truth: of course he is. Blow also does a terrific job of clarifying the nature of racism in this country, and the shades of self-delusion used by Americans to comfort and fool themselves, as they accommodate and enable that racism.
There is no separation, for Blow, between the person who advocates racist philosophy and those who support that person. There is no “middle ground,” and remaining silent, by the way, is probably the worst type of complicity.
The CNN anchors, for their part, appear to be lost for words. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Watch the full interview: