Donald Trump isn’t a bigot. He loves the Mexican-Americans and they love him. Just ask him. He’ll tell you. He just wants to build a wall so the rapists and criminals can’t commit their heinous crimes in the United States.
And he doesn’t think a judge of Mexican heritage is a bad judge. He just doesn’t think anyone who is Mexican-American can fairly adjudicate a case where he is a party, because, you know, he’s going to build a wall. And he wouldn’t want a Muslim judge either, because, you know, he doesn’t want to allow Muslims to enter the country, so how could a Muslim judge possibly be fair to him? A woman judge? Well, it would depend. But if she showed a tendency to rule against him, she might be disqualified, too, because, you know, he has expressed his negative feelings about some women, and so, you know, they may be prejudiced against him, too.
But he isn’t a bigot, because he hires lots of Mexicans, and some Muslims, he assumes, are good people, and he has always gotten along well with women, and some even work for him. He loves African-Americans, too. He even has one, as he pointed out at a recent rally. “Look at my African-American,” he said, proudly.
No one who is so loved and who loves so many diverse peoples can be a bigot. It is just plain offensive to even suggest that Trump is a bigot.
Okay; now in case it slipped by you, the foregoing is hogwash. Donald Trump may not be a bigot, but he sure acts like one, and the fact that he does it so regularly and unapologetically suggests that it is more than just a show. Let’s remember that long before he was a presidential candidate, Trump questioned Barack Obama’s citizenship. He made a national news story out of the claim that Obama hadn’t produced a full birth certificate.
We’ve all known bigots. But did you ever know one who admitted to being one? I never have. Every person I have considered bigoted in his or her views of another class of people would have vehemently denied any bigoted feelings if confronted with the charge. Trump is like that. He says bigoted things, says them as if they are just the way he thinks, says them without even a hint of recognition of bigotry. In fact, like most bigots, he is offended that you would even think he’s a bigot.
But isn’t it one thing to seek to keep undocumented immigrants from coming into the country and quite another to say that those from a particular country are “rapists and criminals” and therefore must be kept out? You can argue, perhaps even persuasively, that a large influx of undocumented immigrants creates economic burdens for the country and that immigration quotas exist for a valid reason. It’s the way you speak to the issue that identifies your bigotry.
So you can argue that tighter controls need to be in place in deciding whether to admit refugees as a means of combating terrorism, but isn’t that different than claiming that any member of a specific religion must be denied entry into the country?
Trump’s statements go beyond legitimate policy positions. In fact his statements don’t represent any semblance of reasoned substantive policy. That’s another thing he has in common with a classic bigot. He speaks out of ignorance. He is either ill-informed or not informed at all. He likes to disparage political correctness as a way to justify his ignorant statements (“common sense,” he calls it), but it isn’t a matter of being politically incorrect when you just plain lie, which is another thing he does shamelessly.
What makes Trump so intriguing is how comfortable he is in revealing his apparent bigotry and ignorance. He really is like the uncle who will say anything that comes into his head, partly because he believes what he is saying and partly because he knows it will get him a lot of attention. Most of us have had an uncle like that (or someone who fits that description). Most of the time, the best way to deal with them is to ignore them.
That’s kind of what the many Republican presidential candidates did for most of the early run of debates. Few really took Trump on when he said outlandish things. It was only when he had a decisive lead and had knocked out most of the contenders that the remaining few thought to actually call him on his lies. But they never confronted the bigotry, and so it took hold and became part of his campaign shtick. And now, with the bulk of the Republican establishment putting party before country and backing him (albeit in some cases grudgingly), and with most of the rank-and-file convinced that even as bad as he appears to be, he’d surely be better than Hillary (buying the Fox News attacks against her), he stands within reach of the presidency.
He would be the first apparently bigoted president since Richard Nixon, but even Nixon kept his true feelings to himself (except for the comments that were caught on his infamous tapes). Trump, on the other hand, will put it all out there for everyone to hear. He’ll justify his bigotry by lying about the threats or by claiming he was just exploring options or making suggestions. But anyone who really wants to know who this man is should surely have figured it out by now.
He’s a bigot, the kind who will deny it vehemently even in the face of an obviously bigoted statement. Paul Ryan called Trump’s statement about Judge Curiel “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Trump replied that his comments had been “misconstrued.” Perhaps, but if you are a candidate for the highest office in the country and you decide to attack a sitting judge on a private lawsuit to which you are a party, you have no one to blame but yourself if you say something that is “misconstrued.”
Most people would just apologize for having misstated their position. Unless, of course, you’re a bigot; then you just say you were “misconstrued.”