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While athletes speak out, Trump drops ball

9/2/2016, 6:35 p.m.
Donald Trump is a political commentator’s dream in the usually news-challenged weeks of late summer when we’re looking for someone ...

Clarence Page

Donald Trump is a political commentator’s dream in the usually news-challenged weeks of late summer when we’re looking for someone to complain about.

For example, he rejects “political correctness.” He says it takes too much time.

That reminds me of an old nugget of good advice: If you don’t have the time to do it right, when will you find time the time to do it over?

In recent days, for example, we have seen the Republican presidential nominee try to upstage his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s speech on race relations by calling her “a bigot,” of all things.

“We reject the bigotry of Hillary Clinton,” he said at a Wisconsin rally on Aug. 16, “which panders to and talks down to communities of color and sees them only as votes —that’s all they care about — not as individual human beings worthy of a better future.”

Yet a few days later, he sent out a tweet about a tragedy in NBA star Dwyane Wade’s family that sounded as though he was, yes, seeing communities of color only as votes.

“Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago,” Mr. Trump tweeted, misspelling Mr. Wade’s first name. “Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”

Say what? Oh, yeah, I’m really ready to vote for Trump now — not.

Mr. Wade’s cousin, Nykea Aldridge, 32, was fatally shot last Friday afternoon while the mother of four was pushing a baby stroller down a South Side Chicago street on the way to register her children for school. Police described her as the innocent victim of a bullet intended for someone else.

Two brothers with multiple arrests in their backgrounds were held without bond on first degree murder charges.

The breathtaking callousness of Mr. Trump’s tweet kicked up a Twitter storm of its own.

Mr. Trump or his office tweeted real condolences to Ms. Aldridge’s family a few hours later, this time with the correct spelling of Mr. Wade’s name.

Mr. Trump loves Chicago for its murders. He frequently has talked about Chicago’s homicide surge with a typical right-wing talk show host’s narrative: It’s President Obama’s adopted hometown with his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, as mayor and, in the right wing’s view, lots of failures of Democratic policies.

“In so many communities under Democratic control, we have bad schools, no jobs, high crime and no hope. It can’t get any worse,” Mr. Trump said last Saturday in Des Moines. “To those suffering, I say: Vote for Donald Trump and I will fix it. What do you have to lose?”

To lose? How about our dignity, for starters.

Sure, there have been Democratic failures in black urban communities. Black Chicagoans have welcomed allies in past decades who have been willing to help, regardless of what party those allies come from.

But Mr. Trump has offered himself not as an ally but as an amateur politician, less interested in African-Americans than in easing concerns of fellow Republicans who, according to polls, think he is a racist. Such are the hazards of political incorrectness.