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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Donald Trump: a closeted racist at the helm of a wounded USA

A LUMS graduate writes that it is well known that Trump harbours racist views, but the naked racism on display in the United States is too obvious to be brushed under the rug. Indeed, the President is playing with fire as he centres his whole election campaign on stoking racial tensions. The way forward for the United States looks bleak.

The America of today is a mirror image of the highly unequal America of the 1950’s and the 1960’s. The killing of George Floyd has reignited the spark of the age-old race debate. Statues are being vandalized and demolished by protestors at a time when police brutality is on a high. Indeed, the American society has perhaps never been as polarized as it is currently. In the midst of this turmoil, it has been blessed with Donald Trump at the helm, who harbours racist views.

However, even as the society tries to chart the way forward, Donald Trump, the President of United States of America, retweeted a video of ‘white-power’ supporters. Within a few hours of this retweet, amidst growing backlash, it was deleted from his timeline.

The damage, however, had been done.

Trump’s racist views divide America 

The President retweeted the video that showed the community’s Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters arguing with one another. The President thanked the “great people” demonstrated in the video.

“Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!” he wrote in the tweet.

Read more: Trump tweets racist video, faces censure

Before the tweet was deleted, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black senator in the Republican conference, said on Sunday that the video retweeted by the President was offensive and “indefensible.” “There’s no question. He should not have retweeted, and he should take it down,” Scott said on CNN’s “State of the Union” with Jake Tapper.

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told Tapper he hadn’t seen the video, which was played on the same news program, or the President’s tweet, “but obviously neither the President, his administration nor I would do anything to be supportive of white supremacy or anything that would support discrimination of any kind. The President and I and his whole administration would stand against any acts of white supremacy.”

Does Trump harbour racist views to boost ratings?

Time and time again, the President has tried to boost his ratings by using racial slurs. His constant attempts to target China by calling the coronavirus as the ‘Chinese Virus’ or ‘Kung-Flu’ has been making the rounds on social media.

Trumps anti-immigration stance has also been widely reported. The people have marred his plans of ‘building a wall’ to stop border immigrations. He had the most extended government shutdown in the country’s history to force the wall through; it failed.

Read more: Trump labelled racist by Twitter users amid massive unrest

In 2017, Trump responded to clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white nationalists and counter-protesters by saying there were “very fine people on both sides.” While the protests have been going on in America, Trump signed an Executive Order which made vandalism of statues a great offence.

These statues being targeted by the people were well-known slave owners or anti-Black individuals. Henceforth the question arises: is the President of the United States, elected for all people of the country, a leader only of the whites?

It is well known that Trump harbours racist views, but the naked racism on display in the United States is too obvious to be brushed under the rug.

Joe Biden: A beacon of hope amid racial tensions

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, condemned Trump over the tweet. “We’re in a battle for the soul of the nation — and the President has picked a side. But make no mistake: it’s a battle we will win,” the former vice president tweeted.

Read more: Facebook refuses to remove Trump’s posts despite backlash

Amid growing tensions across the country, several institutions have come forth in trying to rectify the race issue. Recently, Princeton University announced that it would remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges. Woodrow Wilson was deemed a racist by the university committee as he had overseen the resegregation of federal government offices, including the Treasury Department.

Trump administration built upon white supremacy?

The issue of white supremacy isn’t just limited to Trump. In a separate appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation, vice-president Mike Pence refused to use the phrase “Black Lives Matter”.

“So you won’t say ‘black lives matter?’” host John Dickerson asked Pence. “John, I believe that all lives matter,” Pence replied, using a phrase that has long been criticized for failing to recognize the racism Black Americans face.

The administration has also taken a martial stance toward the genuine concerns of America’s black citizens. It has made headlines around the world for calling protesters ‘terrorists’, with the President himself regularly tweeting a series of incendiary updates as regard the movement.

America’s inclusivity threatened by Trump

America is on the path to reconstruct itself. Its President, however, is hell-bent on ensuring that the citizens are not dealt a fair deck of cards.

Trump’s tweets endorsing white supremacy, play a genuinely negative role in these proceedings.

Read more: General James Mattis attacks Trump’s divisive politics

Trump has been directing his re-election message at the same group of disaffected, mostly white voters who backed him four years ago. In doing so, he has stoked racial divisions in the country at a time when tensions are already high.

It remains to be seen whether the Rome of our Times succumbs to the division instigated by its highly controversial caesar, or if it is able to chart a new path toward equality even when its chips are down.

Hamza Aamir is an Economics and Mathematics graduate from the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He can be reached at aamir19131@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.