Not crazy, just racist

1/19/2018, 6:54 p.m.
OK, can we finally stop beating around the bush and say outright that President Donald J. Trump is a white ...

Clarence Page

OK, can we finally stop beating around the bush and say outright that President Donald J. Trump is a white supremacist?

As our nation celebrated the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, our gaffe-prone president, who began last week by fending off allegations of mental unfitness, finished it by denying charges that he is a racist.

In a story first reported by the Washington Post and confirmed by NBC News, President Trump was speaking to lawmakers last Thursday, Jan. 11, when he angrily slammed their desire to restore protections for refugees from Haiti, El Salvador and some African countries.

“Why are we having all these people from s..thole countries come here?” President Trump said.

He was balking at an immigration deal that would include protections for people from Haiti and some nations in Africa. Instead, according to reports, President Trump expressed a preference for immigrants from places like Norway, which also happens to be one of the world’s whitest countries.

After a night of broadcasters debating whether to quote President Trump’s vulgarity out loud or to bleep it, President Trump tweeted a denial last Friday morning that he had used such language at all, although U.S. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and other witnesses confirmed the reported words.

By the end of the week, the first black female Republican woman in Congress, Rep. Mia Love of Utah, who also happens to be the child of Haitian immigrants, demanded an apology from the president, saying his comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”

Rep. Love noted in her emotional statement that her parents “never took a thing” from the government as they worked hard to achieve the American dream.

Indeed, that classic story of enterprising immigrants who contribute far more to this country than they take away continues today, despite the ill-informed stereotypes that infect today’s immigration debate.

President Trump has helped spread poisonous stereotypes since the day he launched his presidential campaign by calling undocumented Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “murderers,” even though he allowed that “some, I presume, are good people.”

More than “some,” Mr. President.

Yet the White House was slow to back away from President Trump’s reported remarks, according to some reports, because Team Trump figures the hostile edge to his “America First” policy plays well with his cherished base. Indeed, President Trump’s hunger for applause from his base at rallies or on FOX News has led him to pander persistently to that far right minority while thumbing his nose at the rest of us.

How can we forget his rise as a candidate after questioning the validity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, branding Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States and responding very slo-o-owly to disavow the support of the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

Since then, President Trump’s polarizing politics have fed widespread doubts about his mental fitness, despite — or perhaps because of — his description of himself as a “stable genius,” even before Michael Wolff’s runaway bestseller “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” raised new questions.

A January Quinnipiac University poll found a slim majority of American voters — 53 percent to 44 percent — say he is intelligent, but 69 percent say he is not level-headed and 57 percent say that he is not fit to serve as president.

Yet psychiatric experts tell me that normal evaluation methods probably would prove to be less than conclusive, partly because the debate is fueled and distorted by politics. Besides, troubled presidents like Abraham Lincoln, who biographers say suffered severe depression for most of his life, show that mental illness does not necessarily render one unfit to lead.

But, as President Trump has shown, you don’t have to be mentally ill to play on fears and promote white supremacy.