During a weekend sojourn in Mar-a-Lago, the posh Palm Beach estate President Donald Trump staffs with imported foreign workers while ruthlessly evicting from the nation hard-working, law-abiding immigrants, he briefly addressed the slur — “shithole countries” — that has traveled around the world in many languages.
“I’m not a racist,” Trump told reporters, channeling Richard Nixon from the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
He added: “I’m the least racist person you have ever interviewed, that I can tell you.”
If the first part had the makings of “I’m Not a Crook” Nixon, the latter is vintage Trump in a state of ecstatic self-delusion, emphatically repeating a lie long enough to own it, to believe it, and to make others believe it, too.
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He reminds me of a serial cheater I once knew who boasted that he could get away with adultery every single time his wife found out because he had one very effective strategy: “No matter what, you deny.”
Hurricane Trump is like that, but there’s no doubt.
The president of the United States is a racist — and a chronic liar, too.
No other president has perfected the art of lying more effectively than Trump, who has managed, in one unprecedented year in office, to normalize lying from the Oval Office with a supporting cast that includes professional spinners and other racists in charge of policy drafting.
So many lies are told in Trumpworld that journalists scramble to keep track of them; so do Americans. Hence, The Washington Post installed early on a lie tracker. The last tally: In 355 days, Trump made 2,001 false or misleading claims. Do the math: That’s 5.6 lies a day.
Last weekend’s self-assessment from Palm Beach County — during one of his many vacation breaks (he has already played more golf than the predecessor he criticized did in eight years) — is another whopper of a lie.
The dictionary definition of racist is “a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.”
Trump has other shortcomings that put him high up on the list of worst presidents ever and make good fodder for endless debate. But Trump has an undeniably long, on-the-record history of treating whites and people of color differently.
He launched his presidential campaign with an anti-immigrant speech calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists. He rules peddling a message of hatred and fear of the other, despite all the olive branches thrown at him in a fruitless wait for him to make the “presidential pivot.”
Trump saying in a bipartisan immigration policy meeting Jan. 11 that Haitians, Salvadorans and Africans, who are black and brown, come from “shithole countries” — and that the United States should instead vie for immigration from countries like predominantly white Norway — fits the definition of a racist to a T.
And he has made what used to be scandalous and egregious — what used to be the purview of a racist fringe or rabid talk behind closed doors — commonplace.
His tribalist supporters repeat his slurs with pride. His Republican defenders expand the lie with calibrated denials, silence, and superfluous debates over whether he said “shithole” or “shithouse.” As if the derogatory “shit” describing people of color wasn’t what matters when it’s not only an ugly racial slur, but a defining factor of the president’s immigration policy.
Because how the president talks about race and ethnicity matters.
It shapes the policies he is enacting: the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; the Muslim ban; and ending Temporary Protected Status for Haitians and Central Americans.
That’s why he didn’t think twice about leaving Haitians and Salvadorans without their Temporary Protected Status, despite the fact that they cannot safely return to homelands that meet the U.S. and international standards for TPS.
That’s why his Department of Homeland Security can deport without an iota of remorse Mexican men who have been living in this country for decades, are husbands and fathers of American citizens, and have no criminal records. What is gained? Nothing but heaping grief upon families and the loss to places like Indiana and Michigan, where two of the victims of his unfair removal were described as contributors to their communities.
Lying candidate Trump set the table, poisoning Americans (both willing GOP anti-immigrant cult followers and the misinformed and fearful) and telling them that these deportees were “bad hombres.”
Lying President Trump has turned lies and racism into enforcement policy.
His Nixonesque denial of blatant bigotry while basking in the Florida sun is only another entry for the lie tracker.