The New York Times / YouTube How Alexandria Ocasio Cortez Wants to 1541811365.jpg...
The New York Times / YouTube

On Sunday, during an interview with Anderson Cooper, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said what we all know and have been thinking for years now: that Donald Trump is a racist. This is not newsworthy or particularly shocking information. And unlike a lot of the folks who feel the need to dance around Trump’s racism because they want to maintain “civil” discourse or flat-out lie about it, Ocasio-Cortez simply and unapologetically told the truth.

“Do you believe President Trump is a racist?” Cooper asked haltingly during a “60 Minutes” interview with the 29-year-old congresswoman that aired Sunday.

Ocasio-Cortez, however, didn’t pause before responding firmly, “Yeah. Yeah. No question.”

Cue the predictable outrage. On the left, folks are asking why Cooper would even bother to ask such a question since Donald Trump’s racism is clearly well-documented and dates back for decades. But even if we were to somehow gloss over his racism in the 1970s and 1980s—and we shouldn’t (think housing discrimination and Central Park Five)—there’s his more recent, very obvious racist track record as a politician.

By his own admission, Trump has said that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are “very fine people” while proceeding to call African countries “shitholes,” but only after launching a presidential bid by lying about the birthplace of our country’s first black president and calling Mexicans rapists and criminals. So the question itself was one that needed no answer, and the only appropriate response Ocasio-Cortez could have given that would have made any sense is the one she gave—a definitive “Yeah, no question.”

On the right, conservatives are doing that fake outrage thing they do so well by handwringing and pearl-clutching and feigning shock that Ocasio-Cortez could have possibly said such a thing. They are absolutely obsessed with her (to the point of serious concern) so this will no doubt be the topic of much debate on Fox News for the next three weeks as they try to paint her as an out-of-control liberal who is hellbent on destroying America and democracy via socialism.

Ironically, they went to town defending their racist president by also being racist—trying to show that Trump loves black people because he’s actually come into contact with them once or twice before. “See that, how can he possibly be racist? He has black friends! And black people love him!”

Hint: That’s not actually how racism works, guys. Photo ops with random black people are one thing. Harmful statements, racist language, a history of racism, and policy positions that further marginalize people of color are another. Donald Trump is not smart or good at most things. But he’s actually a racist who has perfected the art of racism. He’s done it so well that he used it as a political platform and obtained millions of votes because of it. He’s still using it in order to justify a border wall that no one wants and is willing to pay for. He will continue to use it until it stops getting him TV airtime and when it’s no longer politically popular to do so.

So yeah, Donald Trump is a racist. And though she’s certainly impressive, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t doing anything extraordinary on Sunday night when she said it. She was just doing something we aren’t accustomed to seeing many politicians do when it comes to talking about racism—she decided not to play it safe and simply told the truth. We’re two years into his presidency. If we can’t come to terms with understanding that he is a racist and calling it out, then when will we?

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