The Trump Trifecta:
the belief that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and should therefore dominate society.
Some people were shocked by Donald Trump’s Presidential candidacy announcement in June, 2015, when he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. . . They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people” If you were not clear, before this statement, that Donald J. Trump may have a racist streak, leaning toward white supremacy, you were certainly put on notice. For the best analysis of Trump’s white supremacy I would recommend reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s essay in October's Atlantic, entitled The First White President. The thesis of Coates’s argument is simple: while all but one of our Presidents before Obama were white, none was elected because his primary qualification was only that they were white. As Coates says:
It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power.
Indeed, Trump’s “platform,” in his run-up to the Presidency, was based on the “hot buttons” of the anger and grievance in white male voters, in particular. A border wall, a Muslim ban, the “carnage” in “inner cities” --- all assertions that are provably false, nonetheless carried the day. And there was also the unspoken element of the Trump campaign and that was the exorcism of the legacy of Barack Obama. Let’s remember how Trump’s “political” career began. As Coates documents that genesis:
His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. But long before birtherism, Trump had made his worldview clear. He fought to keep blacks out of his buildings, according to the U.S. government; called for the death penalty for the eventually exonerated Central Park Five; and railed against “lazy” black employees. “Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” Trump was once quoted as saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” Trump demanded the president’s college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), insisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school, and that his acclaimed memoir, Dreams From My Father, had been ghostwritten by a white man, Bill Ayers.
De-legitimatizing all that was Obama --- the man who, along with Seth Myers, had publicly humiliated Trump at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner --- was always central to Trump’s campaign. The stolen Reagan campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” was clear code for “Make America WHITE Again” and particularly designed to appeal to Nixon’s old “silent majority” demographic. Obama had to be purged from White America’s memory. Again, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes:
Essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white. Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.
If we simply start by looking at Trump’s 18 Cabinet appointments we find 12 white men, one black man, and five women (one of whom is Mitch McConnell’s wife). By way of comparison, Obama’s initial Cabinet was comprised of 8 white men (including one Republican), 3 white females, one black male, two Latino males, one Latino female, and one Japanese American male. Quite a contrast. Trump’s Cabinet and policies reinforce another of Coates’s statements: the point of white supremacy—to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification.
If one is not yet convinced that Trump’s “inclinations” are leaning toward white supremacy, let’s look at what “policies and programs” have preoccupied this “Presidency” since January 20th. The first big legislative fail, “repealing and replacing” Obamacare, was a direct assault on the 44th President. Watching Trump’s reaction to the Charlottesville demonstrations, we saw white supremacists take to social media, lauding the “President’s” support. His attempts at “Muslim travel bans,” struck down in the courts, was another attack on non-white people, as was his cancellation of DACA (which he has now left to Congress to resurrect). Watching his lukewarm reaction to Puerto Rico’s hurricane crisis (as opposed to Florida & Texas), as well as his pardon of Joe Arpaio, clearly reveals Trump’s white supremacist core. His reaction to a white shooter’s killing spree (“too soon to politicize”) as opposed to a Muslim terror attack (“Death Penalty!”) is just another reflection of Trump’s orientation. Need we even discuss the attack on NFL players and his perversion of the issues at the heart of that protest?
As Bob Burnett (the co-founder of Cisco Systems) summed up in commondreams.org in September, 2017:
Donald is a white supremacist. His reaction to Charlottesville made that clear. Trump is a racist, sexist, homophobe, classist, and anti-Semite. If we had any lingering doubts, Trump's handling of the crisis in Puerto Rico has made his bigotry abundantly clear. Rather than focus on the desperate straits of the island's 3.4 million inhabitants—primarily people of color—Trump picked a fight with the National Football League. As a result, Puerto Rican relief was delayed, turning a tragedy into a catastrophe. Trump's slogan, "Make America great again," is a call to reinforce white male privilege, a larger and less distinct concept than "white supremacy" that incorporates racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, anti-Semitism and dominionism. (In essence, white male privilege is the notion that straight white Anglo-Saxon men should dominate the social order because that is the "natural" hierarchy.)
One last statistic, from the Southern Policy Law Center(SPLC): in the first 34 days of the Trump administration there were 1,094 bias incidents reported. The SPLC spring magazine issue is entitled The Year in Hate --- it notes:
Without a doubt, Trump appealed to garden-variety racists, xenophobes, religious bigots and misogynists — people not necessarily in any hate or related kind of group, but who still were antagonistic toward multiculturalism. And the numbers of those people have been rising, with studies showing anti-black racism among whites increasing during the Obama years. But bigotry was certainly not the only factor motivating Trump supporters; the Times post-mortem found that many saw in their candidate “their best chance to dampen the most painful blows of globalization and trade, to fight special interests, and to be heard and protected.” None of this is to say that whites have it worse than most minority groups, particularly African Americans and Latinos. But as numerous sociological studies have shown, a person’s objective economic condition is less important in fostering anger than how that person is faring compared to expectations. Whites have long had it better than other groups, but that advantage is slowly being whittled away.
Remember, white supremacy is grounded in the notion that “white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and should therefore dominate society.” The Prime Directive of this “presidency” is focused on assuring, in no uncertain terms, that white men resume their “rightful” place in U.S. society, keeping the “rightful order” in place --- and all "others" in their place.