President Trump today condemned “all types of racism and acts of violence.” That’s a good thing. However, the Trump-hating Washington Post seized on the occasion to condemn Trump for alleged “racially tinged” statements.
“Racially tinged” is a weasel phrase. A statement is either racist or it isn’t. When the statement pertains, however loosely, to race but isn’t racist, those obsessed with race or, in this case, Trump-hatred call it “racially tinged.” It’s the kind of intellectually dishonest move we’ve come to expect from the Trump-resisting Washington Post — here, Anne Gearan, Seung Min Kim, and Josh Dawsey.
(Wouldn’t it be nice if once and while these stories had a single author? Then we would know who, precisely, is writing so dishonestly. Why does it take three people to write such stories? By now, this kind of reflexively anti-Trump drivel should almost write itself.)
What are the “racially tinged” recent statements the Post takes Trump to task for? You can probably correctly guess some of them. Trump questioned the intelligence of Don Lemon and Lebron James, who happen to be Black. But an individual isn’t exempt from having his intelligence questioned merely because he’s Black.
It’s obvious, moreover, that Trump questioned the intelligence of the two because they criticized him, not because of their race. Sen. Lindsey Graham got it exactly right when he said of Trump:
It is how you react to him [that determines how he reacts to you]. It is not the color of your skin, it is not the content of your character. It is what you say about him.
Graham has gotten to know Trump well, but anyone who has been paying attention knows this to be true. It’s what you say about him. Just ask Megyn Kelly.
Trump also criticized NFL players who protest during the National Anthem, all of whom, as I understand it, are Black. But Trump is criticizing them for their conduct, not because of their race. He is not required to give athletes a pass for their obvious show of disrespect for America merely because they are Black. (I disagree with Trump’s view that the players should be “suspended without pay” for expressing their disrespect for America. But it’s not racist — or racially tinged — of him or anyone else to say they should be.)
The other recent statement cited by the Post is one I hadn’t heard before. Trump reportedly told a group of business leaders that almost every Chinese student studying in the United States is a spy. I don’t know the extent to which Chinese students here engage in spying, and the Post has nothing to say about this question in its story. I suspect, and certainly hope, that Trump was exaggerating.
Assuming he was, why is this a statement “racially tinged”? It’s a statement about the determination of a specific government, China’s, to learn American secrets. It’s not a statement about a race. Moreover, Trump has often said that China is smart in the ways it takes advantage of America. He’s not denigrating China here, and he’s certainly not denigrating the race to which the Chinese belong.
Trump is an equal opportunity attack dog. He has labeled media outlets like the Washington Post “the fake news media.” These media outlets are run by Whites and rely on mostly White reporters and opinion writers.
No one suggests that Trump’s attacks on the mainstream media are “racially tinged.” Yet it would be just as plausible to make that claim as it is to assert that Trump’s disparaging statements about particular Blacks are.
There’s a name for this assertion: Fake news.