by Walter Brasch
(part 1 of 2)
Donald Trump, who is commanding all of 1 percent of Black voters, according to an impartial Quinnipiac poll, says he could get as much as 95 percent of the Black vote in a second term. In June 2011, he had said, “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.” It’s nothing less than political hyperbole in a campaign for a first term, and meant to get a few thousand more votes in key states. However, Trump’s past actions don’t mitigate whatever future plans he has.
In 1973, the Department of Justice sued Trump Management for civil rights violations for refusing to rent apartments to Blacks and Latinos who wished to live in complexes that housed mostly whites. Trump, who was the corporation’s president at the time, agreed he would drop a $100 million counter-suit, would provide lists of vacancies in the 14,000 apartments Trump Management owned, and would cease discriminating against minority applicants in exchange for the Department of Justice dropping felony charges. Three years later, the Department of Justice again filed against Trump for not fulfilling his promise.
Trump previously had declined invitations to speak to conventions of the NAACP, Urban League, and the National Association of Black Journalists. However, with Hillary Clinton’s polling numbers rising and his decreasing, he has begun talking with Black and Hispanic groups.
He is outspoken in his hatred for President Obama, and is a leader of the “birther” movement that claims the president was born in Kenya and, thus, unqualified to be president. But, the birthers, who clinging to the flimsiest of all evidence to discredit the nation’s first Black president, refuse to understand that Barack Obama’s birth certificate was issued by a Hawaiian hospital and that his mother was an American citizen, making him an American citizen.
Trump has called Black Lives Matter a “threat,” and vowed if he is president he would tell his attorney general to investigate the group. He didn’t say if he would investigate White Lives Matter or numerous militant white nationalist groups that support his campaign. He never repudiated the support of Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke or of campaign contributions by white supremacists and racists.
Trump claims, with no evidence, that Afghanistan is “safer than living in some of our inner cities,” and vowed if he were president he would eliminate crime in the inner cities. He didn’t say how he would do that, but he may be hiding a team of magicians in his advisory cabinet.
In a campaign appearance in Wisconsin last week, he told Blacks they should vote for him because, “You live in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?” He might just as well have smeared burnt cork on his face and called himself Rastus.
On June 16, 2015, the day he announced he was running for president, Trump declared, “When Mexico sends its people [to the U.S.], they’re not sending their best. . . . They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” The first reality is that Mexico doesn’t send anyone to the U.S.; they come without government assistance or sanction. The second reality is that most immigrants from Mexico and central America countries are not criminals, rapists, or those who have problems; most are hard-working people who wish to improve their lives and live on the fringes of American society, often working in low-wage jobs, trying to blend into American culture, without drawing attention to themselves. They don’t receive welfare, food stamps, or free medical and hospital care. That’s because most don’t apply for those benefits because they don’t want to attract attention that could lead to their deportation. There’s a third reality. Trump and many of his followers don’t recognize that Mexico has significant restrictions on gun purchases, and most guns used by the cartels come from the United States. The criminals who do come into the U.S. come with American-made guns.
Nevertheless, Trump’s solution to the immigration problem is to round-up and deport 11 million undocumented persons from many countries. To make sure the U.S. is safe from immigrants, he has trumpeted a call to build a 25–55 foot tall wall stretching almost 2,000 miles on the U.S./Mexico border, and have Mexico pay for the $15–25 billion construction cost. The estimate doesn’t include the yearly cost of adding border patrol agents and equipment or the cost of sending the undocumented workers back to their native countries. He also hasn’t addressed concerns about Mexican and central American workers digging vast and elaborate tunnels beneath the walls, nor illegal immigration by those who slip past the Coast Guard and enter the country by private plane or boats. There’s also no provision to fence off the northern border with Canada; apparently, Trump believes white-skinned Canadians are more acceptable than brown-skinned Mexicans. Of course, there’s another reality—Canadians, for the most part, have little desire to emigrate to the U.S.
Trump said federal judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be objective in a case involving fraud charges against Trump University because “he’s a Mexican.” Curiel, a former federal prosecutor, was born in Indiana. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) called Trump’s statements “racist.” Other Republican politicians have begun distancing themselves from Trump. Nevertheless, trying to capture votes from the Hispanic community, on Cinco de Mayo this year Trump tweeted a photo of himself eating a taco bowl in a restaurant in Trump Tower, and said, “I love Hispanics.”
The Mexican newspaper Milenio said Trump was “the man who managed to make us miss the Bush clan.”
[Tomorrow: Part 2—Donald Trump’s views about Jews and Muslims. Dr. Brasch is an award-winning journalist who has covered government and politics at all levels for four decades. His latest book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Gain.]