The violence and murders in the past “tough” month have given voters the opportunity to evaluate our presumptive presidential nominees’ real-time leadership skills in times of national crisis. Trump failed the test.
First was his panicked, off the cuff call for restoring “law and order” and his fear-instilling comment about our civilization’s thin protection against “chaos.” This was Trump’s reaction to the Dallas murders. The murders of black men at the hands of law enforcement in the days, weeks, and months earlier inspired no similar call for justice. Apparently, law and order only have to be restored when Trump feels racially threatened. He appeared to be ready to impose martial law in the immediate aftermath of the Dallas murders. Then came the scripted, pre-recorded, “surprisingly tactful” Trump response calling for unity and prayers and noting that work that needs to be done so all Americans feel safe.
A true leader confronts problems. That is the only way to find a solution. Trump has ignored the problem of racism and violence at the hands of law enforcement – not addressing it in any speech or tweet, until the Dallas murders. Trump is in fact incapable of addressing these problems because he is part of the problem.
Fortune magazine (which would seem to align with Trump’s self mythology), recently published an article on whether Trump is a racist. Consider the two examples below.
In 1973 at the age of 26 Trump was president of Trump Organization, and Richard Nixon was president of the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice brought a complaint against Trump’s business because potential renters were being screened by race. Doormen testified they had been instructed to turn away blacks who came to Trump buildings to apply for apartments. In response to the investigation, Trump brought a 400 million dollar countersuit against the government, which was soon dismissed as a “waster of paper.” Trump grudgingly had to comply with reporting to show he was not discriminating against black renters.
The Fortune article also references a quote attributed to Donald Trump by John O’Donnell, past president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, a quote Trump described as “probably true” in a 1997 Playboy interview. Trump reportedly said: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys wearing yarmulkes… Those are the only kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else…Besides that, I tell you something else. I think that guy’s lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks.”
Just two examples of where Trump stands issues of race and justice.
I often refer to speeches and commentary by our country’s founders from my copy of the 1807 book, The Voters’ Guide: Or, The Power, Duty and Privileges of the Constitutional Voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by attorney Abijah Bigelow. Equal justice is affirmed as a constitutional principle in the following excerpt:
“The principle of equality among the citizens is recognized and established by the Constitution. It is an equality of rights, which ensures the same protection to each individual, and requires that all men of every description shall be amenable to justice. It results from equal government and impartial laws, when the way to honor and preferment is open to every one; and the pretensions of no citizen are limited, except by the distinction of merit and capacity.
from governor Caleb Strong’s (Governor of Massachusetts) speech, June 5, 1804. The Voters’ Guide, p. 117. (emphasis added).
I love my country and the principles on which it was founded. Those principles are what made and what makes America great. Trump’s rejection of constitutional values is a gross embarrassment to my party and my country.