By Urban Media News Staff
In the latest bizarre shift of his campaign strategy, Donald Trump has recently sought to portray himself as a champion of African Americans and Latinos. Mr. Trump began his awkward appeals at a campaign rally in Wisconsin recently, where he asked “for the vote of every African American citizen struggling in our country today.”
Mr. Trump made his appeal to voters in front of an overwhelmingly white audience, in an overwhelmingly white community. Washington County, where he held the rally, has a black population of just 1.2%. If Trump were serious about addressing the challenges facing communities of color, there is no logical explanation for why he did not visit Milwaukee’s North or South sides. The location of the speech puts the lie to what he is selling.
These overt appeals to African Americans for votes are undercut by Mr. Trump’s own history, the company he keeps, and the language he uses to appeal to African Americans and Latinos.
Just this week, the New York Times published an in depth piece of reporting detailing Trump’s practice of turning away black residents from housing owned by the Trump family. The discriminatory practices used by Trump’s company led to a suit by the Department of Justice in 1973.
Since announcing his campaign for the presidency, Mr. Trump has been vocally supported by prominent members of the KKK, including former Grand Wizard David Duke. Currently running for the United States Senate in Louisiana, Duke recently released a campaign advertisement urging whites to vote for himself and Trump. Equally telling, a video released by the Hillary Clinton campaign includes video of a robed man identified as the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan telling a reporter, “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in.”
Mr. Trump, who believes himself to be the ultimate showman/salesman, thinks he can wash away the stain of his past and supporters with what he is saying now. Unfortunately, the language he uses and the manner in which he speaks about minority groups underscores how woefully out of touch he is with black and brown community members whose votes he seeks.
Last weekend, the cousin of former Marquette and NBA star Dwayne Wade was shot and killed in Chicago while pushing a stroller. Another innocent bystander gunned down in a violent summer. As the news broke, Mr. Trump tweeted the following – “Dwyane (sic) Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!”
It was just the latest stunning offensive comment from Trump, though equating the violent death of an African American to a reason to vote for someone like himself is shameful, it does not surprise. After all, this is the same candidate who said of Mexican immigrants, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Trump also attacked a Midwestern born judge over his heritage, arguing he was not fit to conduct a trial concerning shady business dealings by Trump simply by virtue of his last name – which even Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called the “textbook definition of racism.”
There is no place in government, much less in the Oval Office, for a candidate with a history of racial discrimination in his business dealings. There is no explaining away such vocal support from white supremacists. And there can be no forgiving repeated use of such divisive language which casts people of color in such a negative light.
Senator Ron Johnson and other Republicans who support Mr. Trump would do well to distance themselves from the policies, practices, and rhetoric of any such man. Unfortunately, they have not done so yet, and continue to support Trump’s candidacy.
In the final weeks of this year’s campaign, voters must remember that whatever Trump says next, there is no escaping his either his past or his present when it comes to how he treats and speaks about communities of color.