Gage Skidmore / Flickr trump pointing air...
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

in this column at The New York Times.

It is written in the aftermath of the tweets by Jemele Hill of ESPN and the “pushback” first by Sarah Huckabee Sanders and then by the “President” himself, the latter via Twitter,

I love Blow’s description of Huckabee Sanders:

The White House perpetual lie-generator and press secretary

but it is the President’s tweet that really gets him going:

This tweet, for me, changed the conversation. It moved the discussion from propriety and in-house rules of conduct by a brand, to a question of veracity. Was what Hill said untrue, as Trump’s tweet suggests, or is Trump in fact a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with white supremacists and whose party courted white supremacists?

Blow points out that there is no doubt about the surrounding with white supremacists, noting particularly the role Steve Bannon was playing.  I would argue further, given his history, that Jeff Session has a long-time history of white supremacy and racial antagonism, which is why he was denied the federal judgeship he sought decades ago.

But Blow goes on.

About the Republican party he writes:

Also, while the Republican Party clearly stands for more than white supremacy and the promotion of that intellectually fallacious concept, the party has often turned a blind eye to the racists in its midst and done far too little to extricate them.

One need only go back to the kickoff of the 1980 campaign of Ronald Reagan at the Neshoba County (MS) Fair, in the county where three civil rights workers were murdered and buried in an earthen dam, to realize the cogency of that paragraph.

The real question, however, is of Trump himself.

Blow goes step by step in building his answer.  He takes the remarks of Huckabee Sanders after Trump attacked Mika Brzezinksi about the President hitting back harder than he was hit as a supposed indication of his strength and writes

They paint it as strength, although it is clearly weakness. It is a masking of fragility with aggression. And the traditionally marginalized — women, racial, religious and ethnic minorities — are treated to a particularly personal strain of Trump’s venom. In Trump’s eyes, Barack Obama wasn’t simply a bad president, he was illegitimate and inferior, a person who couldn’t possibly be as talented as the world thought he was. He questioned whether Obama had actually attended his prestigious colleges and insisted that Obama’s memoir was too well-written for him to have written it, that it must have been written by a white man.

Blow openly states there is no doubt that Trump is both patriarchal and misogynistic.  But what about white supremacy?   Blow addresses this in his final five paragraphs, which are pointed, and which I cannot within fair use quote in their entirety.

The first of these  is blunt:

It is clear that Trump is a hero among white supremacists: He panders to them, he is slow to condemn them and when that condemnation manifests, it is often forced and tepid. Trump never seems to be worried about offending anyone except Vladimir Putin and white supremacists.

Asking whether one can take comfort from and assimilate with white supremacists without assimilating to their sensibilities, Blow states bluntly his belief it cannot be done.  He writes

If you are not completely opposed to white supremacy, you are quietly supporting it. If you continue to draw equivalencies between white supremacists and the people who oppose them — as Trump did once again last week — you have crossed the racial Rubicon and moved beyond quiet support to vocal support. You have made an allegiance and dug a trench in the war of racial hostilities.

Blow grants that Hill may have strayed into hyperbole in her comments, but judges that in spirit her remarks were true, before closing with these words, which lay out clearly his argument:

Either Trump is himself a white supremacist or he is a fan and defender of white supremacists, and I quite honestly am unable to separate the two designations.

Here one might quibble.  One might argue that perhaps all Trump is doing is roiling the waters for political and personal advantage, that he is not REALLY a White Supremacist.  Perhaps supporters of Trump will talk about his relationships with SOME Blacks:  Omorosa, Sheriff Clarke, Ben Carson, although in that case one would have to ignore the demeaning remarks Trump made about his now HUD Secretary during the primaries.  And in fact one would have to ignore his entire public history, whether getting cited by the Federal government in the 1970s for racial discrimination in federally funded housing, his not liking Black employees (which lead to hiding them from sight when he visited his casino), his atrocious and never disavowed brutal campaign against the Central Park Five even after their acquittal, his unrelenting birtherism towards Obama.  Heck, one might even look at Don Jr.s’ embrace of Pepe the Frog symbolism in his own tweeting.  And the son’s embrace of NeoNazi imagery would in my mind also qualify as White Supremacy:  in the larger context those of us of Jewish background are not considered White, and I remind readers that is was one year ago that both Denise Oliver Velez and I got a tweet directed to us with the image of Pepe with one word:  Juden.

So I agree with that final sentence by Blow:

Either Trump is himself a white supremacist or he is a fan and defender of white supremacists, and I quite honestly am unable to separate the two designations.

This is yet another powerful column by Blow, another keeper.

I strongly suggest you read it in its entirety:  what I have written here does not do it full justice.

And pass it on as well.

Because we all need to recognize that not only was Jemele Hill’s description of Trump accurate in spirit, it is part of a much larger picture, which is the unleashing by Trump of the kind of racial animosity we had not seen since the heart of the Civil Rights struggle.  It is the world in which we now find ourselves, an America distorted because of Trump’s legitimizing of White Supremacy and its attendant effects

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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