Some media figures calling Trump racist after remarks
PASADENA, Calif. — Donald Trump ignored the stunning question at a White House appearance on Friday — “Mr. President, are you a racist?” — but there’s no getting around that more people in the media are willing to use that label.
The president’s reference to African countries in profane terms and reported resistance to more immigration from Haiti felt like a tipping point in the number of people willing to call Trump a racist, rather than say his words or actions exhibited racism.
Calling someone a bigot is not a step to be taken lightly, but now “the arguments for being reticent seem absurd,” wrote John Cassidy of The New Yorker. “The obvious truth can no longer be avoided or sugarcoated: we have a racist in the Oval Office.”
An emotional Sunny Hostin on “The View” Friday, noting that her husband’s family is from Haiti, said she’s always resisted labeling Trump because she couldn’t look into his heart. “I can say now, Donald Trump is a racist,” she said. “I hate saying that, but I can say that now.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called him “an openly racist president.” In using the same label, CNN’s Don Lemon asked, “how many examples do you need of this?” CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta said that “it’s a disturbing pattern because it seems to come back to one truth here and that is that this president deep down may just be a racist.”
“Guys, I don’t know how to break this to you,” Trevor Noah said at the opening of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” “But I think the president might be a racist.”
Before he was president, Trump once called civil rights activist Al Sharpton to complain that he called him a racist and Sharpton said he corrected him — he was speaking about his actions and not him. The distinction is important to Sharpton. But Trump’s long effort into questioning former President Barack Obama’s birth cer- tificate convinced Sharpton that there might be a deep-seated problem.
“You don’t want to just call people names that you can’t back up,” he said in an interview. “You don’t want to call a guy a thief. But if he keeps stealing things, he’s a thief.”
The Associated Press might quote someone calling another a racist, “but would not make the accusation on our own absent incontestable proof,” said John Daniszewski, the AP’s vice president for standards. A group might be labeled racist if it proclaims racial superiority.
Words or actions could be characterized as racist, but the AP would have to show in its reporting that they are overtly based on race, he said.