By Robert Mann
Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” For years, Donald Trump showed us that he is a bigot. So why is anyone surprised when his policies match his hateful rhetoric about Muslims, Mexicans, black people and others?
His two most controversial executive orders since taking office — banning Muslimsfrom seven Middle East countries and ordering a wall to deter Mexicans from entering the United States — reflect the hatreds and irrational fears that motivate Trump.
If you were listening, you heard Trump launch his White House bid with an ethnic slur. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” said in June 2015. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
If anyone was unsure if Trump was an anti-Mexican bigot, he settled that in June 2016 when he attacked the federal judge who presided over the class-action fraud suit brought against Trump University. He called the judge “a hater” and obsessed about the judge’s ethnic background. “He’s a Mexican,” Trump said in one interview. “We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”
Judge Gonzalo Curiel, of Mexican heritage, was born in Indiana. That Trump believed his ethnic heritage made him unfit to preside over the lawsuit is textbook bigotry.
Trump’s bigotry is not limited to Mexicans. He and some top advisors have made ignorant, offensive remarks about Muslims. “I think Islam hates us,” Trump saidlast March, indicting an entire religion, including 3.3 million Muslim Americans.
After the horrific December 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif. (waged by two Muslims, one of them an American citizen), Trump demanded “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Not long after that, Trump entertained adding a nationwide Muslim registry to his proposed ban. When challenged on the constitutionality of this, a Trump surrogate pointed to World War II-era Japanese-American internment camps as legal precedent.
One of Trump’s top advisors, National Security Advisor Michael Flynn seethes with anti-Muslim hatred. “Islam is a politicized ideology,” Flynn said in a speech in Dallas last August. “It hides behind this notion of it being a religion.” Flynn went even further, saying Islam is like “a cancer.”
None of this even touches the most persuasive evidence of Trump’s bigotry and racism — his disgusting, years-long campaign to persuade the country that former President Barack Obama was not an American.
So, what does this mean for the United States under Trump? A few observations: