Election 2016

12 Examples of Trump’s Racism and White Supremacist Ties Called out by Hillary Clinton

Trump has shown America his true nature time and time again.

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Hillary Clinton detailed why Donald Trump is an unfiltered, unapologetic racist who should never be anywhere near the Oval Office, in a speech Thursday at a community college in Reno, Nevada, a swing state with a large Latino electorate.

“From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia,” Clinton said, before reciting a litany of Trump’s blatantly racist assertions. “He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.”

What follows are a dozen excerpts from Clinton's speech at Truckee Meadows Community College, where above all, Clinton said that Trump’s ugly prejudices and past business practices, collaborations with white supremacists, and overall temperament make him unfit to be commander in chief. Quoting poet Maya Angelou, she said, “'When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ Well, throughout his career and this campaign, Donald Trump has shown us exactly who he is. And I think we should believe him.”

Here are 12 examples cited by Clinton.

1. Deeply Insulting African Americans: Trump's remarks show he has no appreciation for black culture or achievement, Clinton said, but instead utters one ugly cliche after another. “In just the past week, under the guise of ‘outreach’ to African Americans, Trump has stood up in front of largely white audiences and described black communities in such insulting and ignorant terms. ‘Poverty. Rejection.  Horrible education. No housing. No homes. No ownership. Crime at levels nobody has seen.’ ‘Right now,’ he said, ‘you walk down the street and get shot.’ Those are his words.”

2. Racist then, racist now: Trump has a decades-old history of mistreating and stereotyping blacks, Clinton said, starting with his refusal to rent New York City apartments to them. “When he was getting his start in business, he was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to black and Latino tenants,” she said. “Their applications would be marked with a C—C for ‘colored’—and then rejected. Three years later, the Justice Department took Trump back to court because he hadn’t changed… And the pattern continued through the decades. State regulators fined one of Trump’s casinos for repeatedly removing black dealers from the floor. No wonder the turnover rate for his minority employees was way above average.”

3. His racist lies don’t stop: Before the 2016 presidential election, Trump was at the forefront of the right-wing effort to discredit President Obama’s legitimacy by questioning his national origin. “Let’s not forget that Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called birthers,” she said. “He promoted the racist lie that President Obama is not really an American citizen; part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black president. In 2015, Trump launched his own campaign for president with another racist lie. He described Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. And he accused the Mexican government of actively sending them across the border. None of that is true.”

4. 'Textbook definition' of racism: Clinton’s point was to show that Trump’s racism isn't a series of gaffes or mistakes or exceptions, but an ongoing pattern. She also cited the way he has criticized the federal court judge overseeing the litigation against Trump University for ripping off students. “Remember when Trump said a distinguished federal judge born in Indiana couldn’t be trusted to do his job because, quote, ‘He’s a Mexican.’ Think about that,” Clinton said. “The man who today is the standard bearer of the Republican Party said a federal judge, who by the way, had a distinguished career, who had to go into hiding because Mexican drug gangs were after him, who has Mexican heritage but who just like me was born in this country, is somehow incapable solely because of his heritage. Even the Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, described that as the 'textbook definition of a racist comment.’”

5. He courts white supremacists: Clinton said Trump’s impulsive behavior also reveals his sympathies for white racists, such as retweeting their comments to a national political audience. “This is someone who retweets white supremacists online, like the user who goes by the name ‘white-genocide-TM.’” Clinton said. “Trump took this fringe bigot with a few dozen followers and spread his message to 11 million people. His campaign famously posted an antisemitic image – a Star of David imposed over a sea of dollar bills – that first appeared on white supremacist websites. The Trump campaign has also selected a prominent white nationalist leader as a delegate in California. And they only dropped him under pressure.”

6. Relishes discredited conspiracy theories: This is another dimension of Trump’s grievance politics that has no basis in fact but appeals to uninformed people’s worst prejudices. “Through it all, he has continued pushing discredited conspiracy theories with racist undertones,” she said. “You remember, he said that thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey cheered the 9/11 attacks. They didn’t. He suggested that Senator Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Perhaps in Trump’s mind, because Mr. Cruz was a Cuban immigrant, he must have had something to do with it. And there is absolutely, of course, no evidence of that. Just recently, Trump claimed that President Obama founded ISIS.  And then he repeated that over and over again.”

7. Embraces tabloid trash as fact: This would almost be funny if it weren’t serious, Clinton said, pointing to Trump’s pattern of grabbing onto supermarket headlines as if they were real. “This is what happens when you treat the National Enquirer like gospel,” she said. “They said in October I’d be dead in six months. It’s also what happens when you listen to the radio host Alex Jones, who claims that 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings were inside jobs. He even said, and this really is just so disgusting, he even said that the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there. I don’t know what actually happens in somebody’s mind or how dark their heart must be, to say something like that. But Trump didn’t challenge those lies. He went on Jones’ show and said, ‘Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down.’”

8. Don’t fall for his new softer tone: In recent days, Trump has reshuffled his top campaign staff and sought to stick to a more moderated and scripted tone by reading his speeches from a teleprompter. Clinton said that doesn’t change the substance of some of his vindictive racist proposals. “He would form a deportation force to round up millions of immigrants and kick them out of the country,” she said. “He says that children born to undocumented parents in America are ‘anchor babies’ and should be deported. Millions of them. He’d ban Muslims around the world from entering our country just because of their religion. Think about that for a minute. How would it actually work? People landing in U.S. airports would line up to get their passports stamped, just like they do now. But in Trump’s America, when they step up to the counter, the immigration officer would ask every single person, ‘What is your religion?’”

9. He hires the worst, not the best: It’s not unusual in politics for candidates to hire sycophants, but in Trump’s case his latest campaign CEO is as accomplished a bigot as he is, Clinton said, then giving examples. “The latest shakeup was designed to, quote, ‘Let Trump be Trump.’ So to do that, he hired Stephen Bannon, the head of a right-wing website called Breitbart.com, as campaign CEO,” she said. “Now to give you a flavor of his work, here are a few headlines they’ve published. And I’m not making this up:

  • Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy.
  • Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?
  • Gabby Giffords: The Gun Control Movement’s Human Shield
  • Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage

“That [last] one came shortly after the Charleston massacre, when Democrats and Republicans alike were doing everything they could to heal racial divides that Breitbart and Bannon tried to inflame,” Clinton said.

10. Campaigns with arch white nationalists: Meanwhile, back on the campaign trail, Trump is surrounding himself with political figures known for extremely inflammatory remarks. “Just yesterday, one of Britain’s most prominent right-wing leaders, a man named Nigel Farage, who stoked anti-immigrant sentiments to win the referendum to have Britain leave the European Union, campaigned with Donald Trump in Mississippi,” Clinton said. “Farage has called for the bar of legal immigrants from public school and health services. Has said women, and I quote, ‘are worth less than men,’ and supports scrapping laws that prevent employers from discriminating based on race. That’s who Donald Trump wants by his side when he is addressing an audience of American voters.”  

11. Mainstreaming the far-right fringe: Clinton said fringe elements in American politics are not new, but it’s unprecedented in recent decades for a presidential candidate to stoke racist resentment to further his candidacy. “There’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, a lot of it rising from racial resentment,” she said. “But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it and giving it a national megaphone. Until now. On David Duke’s radio show the other day, the mood was jubilant. ‘We appear to have taken over the Republican Party,’ one white supremacist said. Duke laughed. ‘No, there’s still more work to do,’ he replied.”

12. Old haters in new language: One of the most troubling and enduring aspects of Trump’s primetime racism has been to expose the ugly underbelly of American society that filters the world through racist prejudice and grievances—even if they re-label themselves as something seemingly more acceptable. Clinton called out Trump’s latest efforts to rebrand himself as well as the parallel efforts by the white supremacists at his side who are doing the same. “No one should have any illusions about what’s really going on here,” she said. “The names may have changed. Racists now call themselves ‘racialists.’ White supremacists now call themselves ‘white nationalists.’ The paranoid fringe now calls itself ‘alt-right.’ But the hate burns just as bright. And now Trump is trying to rebrand himself as well. But don’t be fooled.”

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Steven Rosenfeld is a senior writing fellow of the Independent Media Institute, where he covers national political issues. He is the author of several books on elections, most recently Democracy Betrayed: How Superdelegates, Redistricting, Party Insiders, and the Electoral College Rigged the 2016 Election (March 2018, Hot Books).