“This is CNN Tonight, I’m Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that.”
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But political reaction? Very little domestically. The White House did not deny the remarks and one anonymous source said it would probably help Trump with his base.
Condemnation from the left pundits of course, as my Twitter feed reflects. Conservative pundits lamely said it was merely about immigration, completely ignoring the obvious racist overtones.
Don Lemon just hitting for the fences tonight pic.twitter.com/sg62nIdGIv
— Harry (@HarryCFC_) January 12, 2018
The U.N. human rights office said the comments, if confirmed, were “shocking and shameful” and “racist,” while Haiti’s foreign minister summoned the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Robin Diallo for clarification. (Fun fact: Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s exclusive club, reportedly hires more of its seasonal foreign workers from Haiti than it does from nearly any other country)
Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, — the daughter of Haitian immigrants — released a statement Thursday saying Trump’s comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values.” Love also demanded an apology from the president.
This morning, Trump tweeted
That sounds kind of like a denial. Just a few minutes ago, Trump added another tweet
But who believes this? Nobody. First of all, his late response (contradicting the initial and official White House response last night) was politically calculated
Trump spent last night phoning allies and friends, asking them how they thought the “shithole” remark was playing out in the press. One White House official referred to it as a “victory lap.”
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 12, 2018
And a reaction to Fox & Friends
Next, about 20 minutes after Brian Kilmeade says Trump should walk back his comments, he does.
Left, Fox & Friends, 7:06 am
Right, Trump, 7:28 am pic.twitter.com/koD1nnnyih
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) January 12, 2018
Furthermore, Trump is lying.
Sen. Dick Durbin now knocking down Trump’s denial: “It’s not true. He said those hateful things, and he said them repeatedly.”
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) January 12, 2018
BREAKING: Durbin says Lindsay Graham spoke up when Trump made his “shithole” comments
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) January 12, 2018
The New York Times op-ed page minces no words:
When it comes to President Trump and race, there is a predictable cycle. He makes a remark that seems racist, and people engage in an extended debate about whether he is personally racist. His critics say he is. His defenders argue for an interpretation in which race plays a secondary role (such as: Haiti really is a worse place to live than Norway).
It’s time to end this cycle.
No one except Trump can know what Trump’s private thoughts or motivations are. But the public record and his behavior are now abundantly clear. Donald Trump treats black people and Latinos differently than he treats white people.
And that makes him a racist.
Is it possible to defend some of his racially charged statements by pointing out that something other than race might explain them? Sure. Is it possible that he doesn’t think of himself as a racist who views white people as superior to nonwhite people? Yes.
But the definition of a racist — the textbook definition, as Paul Ryan might say — is someone who treats some people better than others because of their race. Trump fits that definition many times over…
It goes on to list all of Trump’s racist comments and actions, from his discriminatory housing to “very fine people” in the alt-right, and so on.
Speaking of Trump lying, there is this embarrassing tweet:
In fact, it was the George W. Bush administration that decided more than a decade ago to relocate the embassy during a worldwide push for greater security at U.S. diplomatic sites.
It was clear to all that Trump was…. well, chicken to go to England. Even the royal family was against it.
Here’s London’s mayor:
Many Londoners have made it clear that Donald Trump is not welcome here while he is pursuing such a divisive agenda. It seems he’s finally got that message. pic.twitter.com/YD0ZHuWtr3
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) January 12, 2018
UPDATE: Some more fallout
The US Ambassador to Panama John Feeley, a career diplomat and former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, has resigned. He says he can no longer serve President Trump. https://t.co/baMQ9M9Wq9
— Matt Viser (@mviser) January 12, 2018
And as Trump makes a pronouncement for MLK Day….
His acknowledgement of MLK today are the emptiest gestures ever made by an American president. Donald Trump cannot exert moral leadership over this country. He has no credibility to do so.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 12, 2018
“Mr. President, are you a racist?” shouts @AprilDRyan
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) January 12, 2018
Only in a country still haunted by white supremacy and hounded by racism would a sitting president feel comfortable degrading Africa and Haiti, while praising Norway. There’s an ugly history that preceded Trump’s comments today. Don’t pretend as though America hasn’t been racist.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 12, 2018
The new New Yorker cover is spot on: