At this point, there are barely a few days to go ahead of the midterm elections across the United States. In the meantime, President Donald Trump has set the nation off with his rhetoric, sounding an alarm about an “invasion” of asylum-seeking migrants and reiterating that the bulk of the American news media is the “enemy of the people” — among other things.
In the midst of the din, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen has emerged to offer his thoughts. Vanity Fair’s Emily Jane Fox says the lawyer “knew that the president’s private comments were worse than his public rhetoric, and he wanted to offer potential voters what he believed was evidence of Trump’s character in advance of the midterm elections.”
Cohen discussed with Fox a few previously private conversations Trump had. Most recently, during the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he says that he’d been with the eventual president at Trump Tower in New York following a campaign rally. The lawyer noted how white Trump’s rally crowd looked, and he says Trump responded by asserting the disparity was because “black people are too stupid to vote for me.”
Cohen relayed a number of other similar comments from the eventual president. After South African political leader Nelson Mandela’s death in 2013, for instance, the president ranted at Cohen:
‘Name one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole… name one city.’
Along those lines, the lawyer says, Trump explained to the lawyer at another point that he couldn’t let black investment manager Kwame Jackson win the first season of his reality show The Apprentice because of his race.
The examples the lawyer provided go on. During the early 2000s, he says he remembers, he and Trump were driving through Chicago when they entered a “rougher” neighborhood, at which time the eventual president asserted:
‘Only blacks could live like this.’
The stories match the president’s public comments, which have plenty of times veered into outright racism. For instance, perhaps most infamously, he has repeatedly stood before the world and asserted that immigration poses a threat to the Western way of life because… reasons.
Going back to the 2016 campaign season, at one point he questioned what black Americans had to lose by voting for him, essentially confirming his perception of the black community as some kind of destitute wasteland in need of a white messiah.
He’s been alleged in the time since to have gone from freely using the n-word to questioning why the U.S. would want people from “shithole countries” in Africa.
His rhetoric has consequences. A shooter who attacked a Pittsburgh synagogue last weekend and left 11 people dead cited concerns about a migrant “caravan” currently traveling to the U.S. through Central America. Trump has personally stoked and continues to stoke those concerns to the point of his administration announcing the deployment of thousands of active duty troops to the U.S. border with Mexico to meet asylum seekers.
In the middle of this tumult, Cohen having decided to cooperate with authorities and pleading guilty to crimes in which he implicated the president may prove among the least of Trump’s worries. Next week, his party will likely lose control of the U.S. House and could lose who knows how much else.
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