Donald Trump has been called all sorts of things over the course of his controversial presidential campaign, but yesterday was probably the first time anyone, anywhere, said he’s positioned to play the role of “racial healer.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper interviewed Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), a vice presidential contender, and the host noted that he’s heard from “a number of Latino-Americans, Muslim-Americans, Native-Americans, Jewish-Americans, African-Americans, all expressing concerns about some of the things Donald Trump has said.” The Republican governor insisted most Americans have the same security concerns, regardless of who wins the election.
It led to this amazing exchange.
TAPPER: Respectfully, governor, you didn’t answer my question. Do you think Donald Trump has campaigned as a racial healer?FALLIN: I think he is trying to campaign as a racial healer. I think that has been part of his message….
In case you’re curious, the governor said this with a straight face.
This comes on the heels of the Trump campaign issuing a statement on Friday morning, responding to the mass-shooting in Dallas, which read in part, “Our nation has become too divided. Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better.”
Questions about racial tensions are inherently difficult and multi-faceted, and Trump has done little to help answer them. But if the presumptive Republican nominee is correct, and tensions have intensified, is Trump prepared to acknowledge his role in the problem?
Slate’s Catherine Piner put together a lengthy collection of incidents involving Trump’s racially divisive campaign tactics, adding, “His observation about racial tensions is especially curious given the many racially and ethnically divisive statements he has made.”
I’m also reminded of this column in June from the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.
The things Trump is doing now – disparaging the “Mexican” judge, disqualifying Muslim judges, calling somebody claiming Native American blood “Pocahontas” and singling out “my African American” – is very much in line with what he has been doing for the past year, and before.More than six months ago, I began a column by proposing, “Let’s not mince words: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist.” His bigotry went back decades, to the Central Park jogger case, and came to include: his leadership of the “birther” movement suggesting President Obama was a foreign-born Muslim, his vulgar expressions for women, his talk of Mexico sending rapists into America, his call for mass deportation, his spats with Latino news outlets, his mocking Asian accent, his tacit acceptance of the claim that Muslims are a “problem” in America, his agreement that American Muslims should be forced to register themselves, his call to ban Muslim immigration, his false claim about American Muslims celebrating 9/11, his tweeting of statistics from white supremacists, his condoning of violence against black demonstrators and his mocking of a journalist with a physical disability.
This assessment – a sampling, really, of Trump’s record on matters of diversity and respect – was published a month ago, and things have gotten even worse since.
All of which brings us back to the truly breathtaking assertion that Trump is “trying to campaign as a racial healer.” The next question for the GOP candidate’s allies is, if the last year is what it looks like when Trump is trying to bring people together, what would it look like if he were trying to tear us apart?