When will Trump’s supporters see him for who he is?
Three heavy shoes dropped over the last week for President Trump on three issues of great importance to voters in this election. They have to do with Trump’s treatment of the coronavirus pandemic, race relations and our country’s military veterans.
Most recently, we learned of Trump’s stunning admission to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward in February that he knew COVID-19 was airborne and deadlier than the flu but downplayed its danger.
COVID-19 has killed almost 200,000 Americans, including a disproportionate number of African Americans and Latinos. To this day, Trump refuses to prioritize the pandemic and implement a national plan to stop the spread of the virus. Tens of thousands of American lives might have been saved had Trump taken decisive action.
A couple of days ago, Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen released a memoir of his time as Trump’s most trustworthy aide in which he alleges a firsthand account of Trump’s apparent disdain for people of color.
According to Cohen, Trump said, “Latinos… like the Blacks… are too stupid to vote for Trump. They are not my people.”
Trump also alleges praised apartheid and slammed South Africa’s first Black president, Nelson Mandela, who died in 2013 and was honored around the world for ending the racist regime in South Africa. According to Cohen, Trump had a different view of him. Trump said “Mandela f—ed the whole country up. Now it’s a s—hole. F— Mandela.”
Cohen also describes an episode in which Trump allegedly hired a Barack Obama look-a-like just so he could pretend to denigrate and then fire him.
These excerpts confirm the view of many that Trump is a racist.
Late last week, The Atlantic published a disturbing report alleging that Trump denigrated Americans who died defending the country in various wars. According to the report, Trump derided our country’s veterans, especially those who gave their lives in World War I, as “losers” and “suckers.”
After this avalanche of new and disturbing revelations, will well-meaning Trump supporters finally see the president for who he really is? Or will they continue to sacrifice their own standards on the altar of misguided loyalty to a president who has never had the best interests of his supporters, much less the country’s, at heart?
Trump’s mistreatment of Black and Latino Americans has been widely reported and repeated — from his promotion of the racist “birther” conspiracy theory that the first Black president was not born in the United States and thus was ineligible to become president; to accusing Mexico of sending rapists and criminals to the United States; to repeatedly demonizing migrants trying to enter the United States at our southern border as “invaders.”
But many Trump supporters continue to find a way to excuse these racist comments, insisting “that’s just Trump being Trump.” Some even admire Trump for using such “politically incorrect” language and laud him for having the courage to tell the truth and do something to protect a way of life that they are afraid is slipping away.
But how will they excuse his seemingly anti-veteran attitude? How will they explain away Trump putting their lives in danger by lying about the deadly nature of COVID-19?
At what point do dutiful, values-driven Americans who gave Trump a chance in 2016 say “enough is enough” and turn against him? A few have defected, but not nearly enough.
Perhaps these recent reports will help convince more Americans who held their noses to vote for Trump in 2016 that he does not deserve a second chance.
The United States was founded on the premise that everyone is created equal and that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The president should embody these values; Donald Trump does not. It is time his well-meaning supporters acknowledge that and put their values above their politics.
Maria Cardona is a longtime Democratic strategist and was co-chair of the Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws committee for the party’s 2020 convention. She is a principal at Dewey Square Group, a Washington-based political consulting agency, and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.
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