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Trump is kneeling on the country's neck

At one time, Donald Trump's racism was actually litigated, back in the 1970s, when the U.S. Justice Department sued his family real estate company for refusing to rent to black people.

The allegations were ugly: assertions by a series of black people who said they were turned away from empty Trump-managed apartments that were eventually rented to whites. After a contentious two-year court fight, the Trumps agreed to a settlement in which they were made to advertise in newspapers their willingness to rent to blacks.

Later, Trump's racism matured and got louder, first, as he called for the execution of five black and Latino teens who were arrested for, convicted and eventually exonerated of the rape and assault a white woman in New York's Central Park.

And then, foreshadowing his foray into race-baiting politics, he insisted without evidence that the country's first black president was born in Africa and not in America.

"I want society to hate them," Trump said about the innocent dark-skinned teens wrongly arrested in the Central Park case. "Maybe hate is what we need if we are going to get something done."

You can hear the same hate that spewed then from young developer Trump in our President Trump today, tweeting an incendiary phrase about shooting looters when mayhem broke out in Minneapolis.

Trump, in his first presidential campaign and through much of his term, has been coy in his race baiting, tossing out red meat to the racists he courts, and then, with a rhetorical wink to them, pulling it back, suggesting he was misunderstood.

The shooting looters tweet was the latest example. Who can possibly believe him when he now says the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" came to him out of the blue and he didn't know it's right out of history lessons about racism in America?

Playing along with this ruse has allowed an ugly swath of racism in America to fester during the Trump presidency, while too many Americans have been to able channel the president's hatred without guilt or acknowledgment.

I think that's over now, though, and we are, with smoke and fire in our cities, passing into a time of Trump when the racism is more apparent and the need to address it more compelling than ever.

The president's racism is being starkly unmasked.

Let's be honest, a black man being coldly murdered by police is horrific and, let's hope, in this case, finally history changing. It has certainly awoken the nation.

But it's not one death we are addressing. It is centuries of painful inequality as the current pandemic exposes anew how much more vulnerable those on the underprivileged side of the racial divide are.

Indeed, the Trump presidency, with its work to widen the country's gaping wealth and income gap and make medical insurance less available to all has brought us to a new moment of truth about inequality in America.

Trump's outrageous armed police shove of peaceful demonstrators in front of the White House Monday, so he could walk across the street for a photo opportunity in front of the historic St. John's Church, should forever be known as Trump's march against civil rights.

Trump awkwardly clutched a bible, not his own, as a prop, in front of a church where Abraham Lincoln once regularly attended service and presumably prayed for the unity of the country. Trump uttered not one word of comfort for a grieving country.

It was another of those Trump moments when you think it couldn't get worse, and then it does.

It seems like a lifetime ahead, before Nov. 3 finally rolls around and all the black and brown and white Americans who are so much better than our hateful president can cast a vote to get rid of him.

d.collins@theday.com

This is the opinion of David Collins.

 

 

 

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