House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is seriously getting on President Donald Trump’s nerves. This Tuesday, he “faced the music” for the first time over his incessant attacks on the Baltimore Congressman, and he resorted to some wild claims in response. While insisting that opponents of his like Al Sharpton are themselves racist, Trump belligerently asserted that he’s done more for black Americans than any other president ever. In other words, his defense against charges of racism for again singling out a person of color for harsh criticism is to puff out his chest and shout “That can’t be! I’m the greatest!”
He told reporters:
‘I’m the least racist person there is anywhere in the world. Con men who I’ve known almost all my business life cause I had to deal with them unfortunately in New York, but I get along with them — Al Sharpton. Now he’s a racist! He’s a racist. Let me explain to you — what I’ve done for African Americans in two and a half years — no president has been able to do anything like it.’
TRUMP: “I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world … Al Sharpton — now he is a racist. What I’ve done for African Americans in two and a half years — no president has been able to do anything like it.”
(Abraham Lincoln could not be reached for comment.) pic.twitter.com/RFoLzG415y
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 30, 2019
Sharpton has been among those speaking out against the president’s treatment of Cummings, but beyond that — it’s not immediately clear what Trump actually has in mind here. It’s true that he’s signed substantive criminal justice reform into law, but that has had only limited application in the federal prison system, not in the vast network of state prisons where many many more black Americans languish with still lengthy sentences for non-violent crimes. It’s also true that unemployment in black communities is low, but that’s not Trump’s personal doing like he flipped some kind of magic switch — unemployment in the entire economy has been steadily declining since Barack Obama was in office, as has been noted amply already.
Even this argument might be giving Trump too much credit. Journalist Aaron Rupar sarcastically quipped in response to the president’s above-quoted comments that “Abraham Lincoln could not be reached for comment.” Ironically, Trump has explicitly compared himself to Lincoln in the past, having argued that he had a higher approval rating than the Civil War-era president who freed the slaves. Public approval of the president was not measured during Lincoln’s time.
At this point, it wouldn’t be out of line with precedent for Trump to stand before Congress and go on an n-word laced rant and then insist to reporters that he’s not a racist at all and instead, the real culprits are those who dare to speak out.
Wildly enough, Trump went on this Tuesday morning while speaking to reporters to insist that members of the African American community had called him up to thank him for his support and for calling out Cummings, who Trump seems to take as personally responsible for some squalid inner-city conditions around Baltimore. Although he did have a delegation of black community leaders at the White House this week — it’s unclear what solid evidence there is, if any, for the president’s assertion that blacks have called to thank him for lambasting Cummings. He routinely makes stuff up; why should we take this as different.
Featured Image via screenshot