Monday, March 14, 2016 at 8:18 AM

‘I can’t hear, or see, or say that name [TRUMP] without spitting’

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Frankly, that name now conjures up such racial and religious bigotry, to say nothing of neo-Nazi thuggery, it should make you want to spit too. But more about that later….

390-rally-0311-2Since launching his campaign last summer, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been spewing anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim rhetoric in a manner that seems pathological.

Commentators across the political spectrum are citing this rhetoric to explain why he does not have the judgment or temperament to be president of the United States. Others are citing it to explain why his campaign rallies are degenerating into mob violence; so much so that it’s only a matter of time before Trump satisfies his antic pining to see someone taken out on a stretcher.

But all of them would be hard-pressed to explain why the racist and xenophobic rhetoric he was spewing in 2011 was not equally, if not more, disqualifying. This, after all, is the same Trump who was propagating political heresy about Obama being an illegitimate president because he’s a secret Muslim who was born in Kenya. And he did so with trademark hucksterism by offering to donate $5 million to charity if Obama produced his birth certificate and all college records … according to Trump’s specifications and satisfaction.

To my utter consternation and eternal dismay, Obama actually complied, in part, by producing the former – as if he needed to prove to anyone with half a brain that he really was born in the USA. Not to mention that Trump promptly betrayed what a brazen liar he is. For he made quite a show of announcing that his private detectives (who of course make FBI agents look like keystone cops) had uncovered reams of evidence, proving beyond any doubt that Obama was born in Africa. And, consequently, that:

Obama’s presidency may be the greatest scam in the history of the United States.

(Business Insider, April 10, 2011)

Unsurprisingly, Trump never produced one sheet of those incriminating reams. Unfortunately, journalists have been so busy swimming in subsequent streams of outrageous claims, they have yet to challenge Trump on his failure to substantiate his birther claims as promised. This is just one of the many reasons I lost what little respect I still had for them, and it further vindicates my commentaries like “Journalism Is Having a Very, Very Pathetic Moment,” November 13, 2013.

imrs.phpUnsurprisingly, Obama had a little to say about this at a Democratic National Committee event in Texas on Friday. He insinuated that Trump’s birther nonsense gave birth to his unhinged presidential campaign, naturally. But he made no effort to disguise his contempt for those who are expressing shock about Trump’s reckless rhetoric today but uttered nary a word about his reckless rhetoric back then:

How could you be shocked? This was the guy who was sure I was born in Kenya… As long as it was being directed at me they were fine with it; it was a hoot — and suddenly they’re shocked!

(USA Today, March 11, 2016)

By contrast, I’m on record declaring back then that Trump’s racist rhetoric and birther antics made him unfit to host a reality TV show, let alone serve as president of the United States. I joined the vanguard (of mostly white liberals) in calling for a boycott of Trump’s businesses – to hit him where it hurts. The following excerpt – from “Trump for President? Don’t Be a Sucker!” April 8, 2011 – attests to this.

____________________

Donald Trump is nothing more than the P.T. Barnum of business: a huckster who thrives on the notion that ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’…

trump2-300x189-300x189We all knew that Trump was a self-aggrandizing buffoon. But he has now exposed himself as a self-deluding racist as well.

This is why I urge the rich folks he depends on to patronize his eponymous resorts and buy up his eponymous condominiums to begin shunning him – just as they would a half-baked racist like David Duke. I urge this especially of the black Hollywood and sports stars he likes to feature as extras in his one-man freak show.

Trump is entitled to say whatever he likes. But, at the very least, he should suffer truth and consequences for accusing this country’s first black president of being a Kenyan Muslim who has perpetrated ‘the biggest scam in U.S. history.’

CBS fired Charlie Sheen from One and a Half Men for hurling anti-Semitic remarks at a TV producer. NBC should feel even more compelled to fire Trump from The Apprentice for hurling racist remarks at the president of the United States.

So, here’s to this fiendishly thin-skinned huckster having his trademark words thrown back in his face: Trump, you’re fired!

____________________

Therefore, imagine my dismay when nobody of note headed our calls until last summer. That’s when Macys, NBCUniversal, ESPN and other corporations joined (mostly Hispanic) celebrities, like Ricky Martin, in rebuking Trump and severing business ties because of his anti-Mexican rhetoric. Hell, even NASCAR joined the indignant bandwagon.

Hip-hop mogul and political activist Russell Simmons only compounded my dismay last December. That’s when he penned an open letter in which he literally pleaded with Trump to temper his rhetoric because,

My friends, both Muslims and Jews, are saying there are so many comparisons between your rap and Hitler’s.

(CNN, December 9, 2015)

But it behooves public figures, especially black ones like Simmons, to explain why they did not rebuke Trump for his racist (c)rap about Obama and Mexicans the way they are rebuking him for his racist rap about Muslims and Jews.

Incidentally, the prescient note I sounded in my 2011 commentary about David Duke came home to roost just weeks ago. For here is how the February 29 edition of The New Yorker reported on Trump’s damning refusal to utterly repudiate him.

For months, as Donald Trump developed his political repertoire, he adopted an uncharacteristic reply for questions about fascism and the Ku Klux Klan: silence, or something close to it…

On August 26th, the Bloomberg Television anchor John Heinemann brought up David Duke, the former Klan Grand Wizard, who had said that Trump was ‘the best of the lot’ in the 2016 campaign. [After letting Trump get by with a Simon Peter-like denial of Duke], Heilemann asked if Trump would repudiate Duke’s endorsement: ‘Sure,’ Trump said, ‘if that would make you feel better.’

That, folks, is a racist dog whistle even I, a non-racist, can hear loud and clear.

Obviously, the racism, xenophobia, and outright violence Trump incites are bad enough. But all of that is compounded by the failure of so many Americans, especially his rich celebrity friends, to not only repudiate him but make a show of shunning him — to hit him where it hurts.

All Americans should appreciate the categorical imperative of treating anything branded “Trump” — from hotels to neckties and vodka — as if it were branded “KKK.” It only hints at his cynicism and hucksterism that he makes such a public show of touting his Made in China products to “Make America Great Again.”

But the legacy of his publicity stunt masquerading as a presidential campaign should be a Trump brand so tarnished that the only people willing to patronize his businesses are the fools who voted for him.

Given that the vast majority of them are poor and uneducated, by his own estimation, it would only be a matter of time before he’s forced into the mother of all his bankruptcies (i.e., for failing to make payments on the debt he brags about using to finance his businesses). And trust me, this Croesus-envying narcissist would rather go bankrupt than depend on the rabble-rousing suckers who attend his rallies to keep his real-estate empire afloat. Which is just as well given that most of them can barely afford a night at a budget hotel.

Keith_Olbermann_is_moving_out-a58c8c7e05a900e6320f4232d5fc6c6cOf course, I am modest enough to appreciate why my long-standing call to boycott Trump has fallen on deaf ears. This is why I was so heartened last week when Keith Olbermann finally heeded my call.

Keith Olbermann is so disgusted by Donald Trump’s politics that he’s moving from his Trump-owned building.

‘I’m getting out because of the degree to which the very name ‘Trump’ has degraded the public discourse and the nation itself,’ the former MSNBC and ESPN personality wrote in a new opinion piece for the Washington Post. ‘I can’t hear, or see, or say that name any longer without spitting.’

(Business Insider, March 9, 2016)

This is the demonstration of disgust I expected of countless others years ago, especially black celebrities. After all, just as Obama insinuated that the silence of Republicans tacitly endorsed Trump’s birtherism, the silence of everyone from the NBA’s Derrick Rose to the MLB’s Derek Jeter and even “Apprentice” Arsenio Hall did the same. More to the point, they all had just cause to begin spitting at the mere sound of Trump’s name long before Olbermann.

RonaldoLead-thumb.0That said, Cristiano Ronaldo is easily the most popular player in the world’s most popular professional sport, namely Soccer. Therefore, nothing indicates the confounding and resilient allure of the Trump brand quite like Ronaldo paying $18.5 million for a pad in Trump Tower in New York City last August. This, despite the international furor Trump incited with his anti-Mexican and anti-Muslim diatribes.

Apropos of confounding, nothing is more so than his rank-and-file supporters — who’d sooner drink Trump’s spit than spit at the sound of his name. I have denounced their willful ignorance in many commentaries, including most recently in “New Hampshire Primary Proved One-Third of Republicans are Gullible Fools,” February 12, 2016:

Trump’s supporters are, for the most part, the same poor, uninsured white folks who are so “angry” with Obama, they support rich, insured politicians who are hell-bent on repealing the healthcare Obama provided for them. They are the same blue-color white folks who act as if they have more in common with a white-color billionaire like Trump than fellow blue-color blacks and Hispanics. And, alas, they are the same people who made Honey Boo Boo’s redneck blatherings and Snooki’s moronic antics must-see (reality) TV, signaling America’s descent into the cultural abyss where bombastic hucksters like Trump now thrive…

Clearly, notwithstanding the ignorant fulminations of these Trump supporters, two terms fairly explain their rabid political activism against self-interest: old-fashioned racism and new-fangled xenophobia.

On the other hand, it is noteworthy that Trump’s neo-fascist rhetoric is shocking the political sensibilities even of right-wing Republicans. No doubt this is because it is now inciting political violence, which is all too evocative of political violence in the United States during the 1960s and, even more ominously, in Germany during the 1930s. With respect to the latter, here is the prescient note I sounded just months ago:

Many have wondered how Hitler got so many ordinary Germans to become his ‘willing executioners.’ Well, Trump is showing just how at rallies where he whips his supporters into all manner of xenophobic and racist frenzy, preying with every fulmination on their irrational fears of persecution and misguided sense of nationalism. “Never again”? I wouldn’t bet on it.

God help America.

(“The Putin-Trump Bromance,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 29, 2015)

Still, there’s something refreshing and ennobling about people who troll the comments section of political blogs, hurling snarky invectives behind fake names, now baring themselves to do the same under klieg lights at campaign rallies. That is, so long as they limit themselves to hurling invectives at the candidates (I suggest “crybaby Donald’), not haymakers at any candidate’s supporters.

Related commentaries:
Trump for president
Journalism pathetic moment
Putin-Trump
New Hampshire
Trumpenstein

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