Donald Trump’s “go back to where you came from” rhetoric has sparked outrage and accusations of racism because it’s a tired, old, racist trope with a long history in the United States. There’s a whole other tired history behind, “I’m not racist, one of my best friends is black,” too, but Trump’s trying it anyway.
After a week of calling out four black and brown congresswomen – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-OH), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) – Trump has vacillated between insisting that what he said wasn’t racist, to saying that what those tweets inspired was wrong, to once again saying he wasn’t racist and the rally crowd chanting “send her back” are true patriots. It hasn’t been a good week for the president, especially with the 2020 elections on the horizon, and he desperately needs some cover and a distraction from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s upcoming public testimony in front of Congress.
Trump can smile in photo ops with Kanye West, point out black rallygoers while saying “look at my African American,” and give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to a black golf player, but that doesn’t help the brown children in cages at the border, it won’t make the death threats against Rep. Omar stop, and it doesn’t change the KKK and neo-Nazi groups’ affiliation with his policies. The presidency is not a television show where Trump can project a false image; his policies undermine that.
Twitter wasn’t impressed by Trump’s mention of his one black friend, either. Read some of their comments below: