by Charles M. Blow
So now Donald Trump is campaigning for the black vote. (Long, awkward pause.)
Like so much of what Trump has said and done, this new outreach forces writers like me to conduct scatological studies, framing Trump’s actions in their historical and intellectual absurdity.
But, here we go.
Trump, who got a shocking 1 percent of support among black voters in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, has been urged to reach out to black voters.
A day after The New York Times published an article pointing out that “the Republican nominee has not held a single event aimed at black voters in their communities, shunning the traditional stops at African-American churches, historically black colleges and barber shops and salons that have long been staples of the presidential campaign trail,” Trump ventured to a suburban town outside Milwaukee that is 95 percent white and 1 percent black to tell the black population of America — a population that has been consumed in recent years by a discussion of police misconduct and extrajudicial killings — that “the problem in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police, the problem is that there are not enough police.”
The speech was tone deaf, facile and nonsensical, much like the man who delivered it.
Then within hours of making that speech, Trump shook up his campaign in part by naming Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, the campaign’s chief executive.
This is the same Breitbart that the Southern Poverty Law Center referred to in an April “Hatewatch” report:
“Over the past year however, the outlet has undergone a noticeable shift toward embracing ideas on the extremist fringe of the conservative right. Racist ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas — all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’”
The report continued:
“The Alt-Right is a loose set of far-right ideologies at the core of which is a belief that “white identity” is under attack through policies prioritizing multiculturalism, political correctness and social justice and must be preserved, usually through white-identified online communities and physical ethno-states.”
How are you reaching out to the black community when you step on your own message with such an insulting hire?
All of black America is looking askance at Donald Trump. He has no credibility with black people, other than the handful of black staffers and surrogates who routinely embarrass themselves in their blind obsequiousness.
Trump has demonstrated through a lifetime of words and actions that he is no friend of the black community.
Donald Trump is 70 years old. Surely there should be copious examples from those many years of an egalitarian spirit, of outreach to African-American communities, of taking a stand for social justice, right? Right?
In fact, Trump’s life demonstrates the opposite. He erupted like a rash onto the public consciousness on the front page of The New York Times in 1973 because he and his father were being sued for anti-black bias at their rental property.
This is the same man who took out full-page ads blaring the headline “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!” in New York City newspapers calling for the execution of the Central Park Five, a group of teenagers made up of four African-American boys and one Hispanic boy, who were accused and convicted of raping a white female jogger in the park. A judge later overturned the convictions in the flimsy cases and in 2014 the Five settled a wrongful conviction suit with the city for $41 million.
This is the same man who is quoted in the 1991 book “Trumped!: The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump — His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall,” as saying:
“I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and at Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”
The book was co-written by John O’Donnell, who was previously chief operating officer at Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.
Trump is the same man who stepped into presidential politics by becoming the embodiment of the Birther movement, relentlessly demanding to see President Obama’s birth certificate.
This is the same man at whose rallies African-Americans have been verbally and physically assaulted.
Even Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump viciously attacked for his “Mexican heritage,” is a prominent member of one of the historically African-American fraternities and sororities, known together as “The Divine Nine.” In the black community, these groups serve as well-respected service organizations with active lifetime engagement and prominent members like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Nikki Giovanni, Zora Neale Hurston, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. and Michael Jordan. In the black community, this attack by Trump did not go unnoticed, and it did not go over well.
(Full disclosure: Judge Curiel and I are members of the same fraternity — Kappa Alpha Psi.)
This is the same man who has scandalously maligned Muslims, apparently not realizing that it’s estimated that approximately one-fourth of the 3.3 million Muslims in this country are African-American. Indeed, the Muslim faith has deep roots in the black community because many Africans brought to this country as slaves were Muslims. The signs are everywhere. For instance, I spent my earliest years in the rural community of Kiblah, Ark., an area homesteaded by former slaves following the Emancipation Proclamation. In Arabic, kiblah is the direction in which Muslims pray toward Mecca.
Trump is the same man who repeatedly and falsely insisted that Barack Obama was the founder of the terror group the Islamic State. He then tried to weasel out of the backlash by incredulously claiming that he was being sarcastic.
This is the same man who has refused to reach out to black people in any way, including rejecting offers to speak before the N.A.A.C.P., the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Urban League. (Hillary Clinton spoke before all three.)
Donald Trump is the paragon of racial, ethnic and religious hostility. He is the hobgoblin of retrograde racial hegemony.
And this is the man who now wants to court the black vote? Puh-leese …
(This column originally appeared in the New York Times AUGUST 17, 2016 under the title “Why Blacks Loathe Trump”)
Charles M. Blow is a New York Times Columnist and nationally-known commentator: “I invite you to visit my blog By The Numbers, join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”