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The White Supremacist-in-Chief

 

The President refused to condemn white supremacy on a national stage last night. It was one of the few times in the debate when he could not lie. “Go ahead… do it… say it,” implored the moderator. Trump refused. Unable to even name them for what they are – “what do you want me to call them?” – the President, instead, told the hate group known as the Proud Boys to “stand back, stand by.” His clarion call for racial violence is already part of the new logo for this hate group.

Incredibly this exchange is not the leading headline in today’s coverage – par for the course when we have a President that utters idiocies by the dozens. Indeed, among the New York Times “Six Takeaways” from last night’s debate, Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacists ranked fourth. For LatinoJustice and every other institution that promotes equal treatment and nondiscrimination, this ranks first.

The President is goading a race war and will do nothing short of destroying the country to win. Why is this not the biggest and most alarming story line of the debate?

Much of it stems from the immediacy of our news cycles. And yet, none of this happened overnight. It did not start with Charlottesville, Mr. Biden. Trump began his race-mongering riding the escalator at Trump Tower when he called Mexicans rapists and murderers. Sure, Charlottesville was his first opportunity to resort to the subtlety of dog-whistle race cards and he blew even that revealing his allegiance by alluding to Neo-Nazis as “fine people” too. He continued to refer to immigrants arriving at the border fleeing violence and persecution as an “invasion” that had to be stopped. That led to the racist attack of scores of Latinos in El Paso, Texas by a deranged, white supremacist who cited the President’s words. For Latinos, El Paso cemented all we needed to know about the white supremacist in the White House.

Unpacking what happened on the debate leads us to another factor. Trump’s allegiance to white supremacists is of much greater concern to people of color than to the rest of the country. Whites are facing significant demographic shifts in the country – shifts spearheaded by Latino demographic growth. Trump’s desperate attempts to continue his reign creates fear among us in ways that cannot be fathomed by the rest of the country.

So, we must resign ourselves to this fact: this President would never utter the words “the white race is not superior to any other race.” He refuses to condemn that which he holds dear.

Latinos and other people of color have been denouncing him for this. It is well-past time that whites in our country of all political parties condemn his racist beliefs and hold him accountable.