Trump’s Saturday West Point Speech Becomes Racist PR Disaster


President Donald Trump has an apparently unwavering commitment to racism. This Saturday morning, he delivered a commencement address to the class of 2020 at the West Point military academy, and amidst his speech, he launched into a racist rant about the Coronavirus pandemic. He tried to depict the pandemic as some kind of nefarious pathological invasion from China, as if everything in the world can be reduced to one of Trump’s ignorantly simplistic, relentlessly self-centered paradigms. He treats the world as a never-ending “us vs. them” fight, and that perspective includes a whole lot of brazen racism.

It’s important to note — Trump didn’t even get the basic facts right in his comparatively brief discussion of the pandemic. He claimed that the Coronavirus came from China — but at least some of the strains in the U.S. have been documented to have come from Europe. The Coronavirus has no nationality, no matter how many times Trump wants to use it as a racist rhetorical bludgeon.

He said:

‘The depth and breadth of the United States military’s contributions to our society are an everlasting inspiration to us all. I want to take this opportunity to thank all members of America’s Armed Forces, every branch — active-duty, National Guard, and reserve — who stepped forward to help battle the invisible enemy, the new virus that came to our shores from a distant land called China. We will vanquish the virus. We will extinguish this plague.’

He’s openly trying to depict the virus as an “invisible enemy” from China, as if the virus marched across the world just to make Trump look bad and subvert his supposed greatness. It’s the same kind of ignorantly racist rhetoric that he uses when discussing immigration. He’s previously referred to asylum-seekers coming to the U.S. from South America as an “invasion.”

During his West Point speech, Trump also discussed the recent National Guard response to nationwide protests against police brutality, a comparatively very small selection of which turned into riots. Trump thanked the members of the National Guard for promoting “order.” It’s always laughable when Trump tries to depict himself as the law and order president, since he’s the one with numerous associates who’ve just recently faced federal criminal charges.

Still, he said:

‘I also want to thank the men and women of our National Guard, who respond with precision to so many recent challenges, from hurricanes to natural disasters to ensuring peace, safety, and the Constitutional rule of law.’

He glosses over the fact that, in reality, that’s not an entirely accurate representation of the situation. Trump didn’t just want the National Guard to ensure “peace” and “safety.” In fact, he repeatedly insisted that authorities should “dominate” the streets, and he repeatedly seemed to make absolutely no distinction between a small number of rioters and a huge number of peaceful protesters. Trump just wanted a military confrontation.

Trump’s violent ignorance and racism don’t seem like they’ll be enough to ensure his re-election. Currently, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads in national-level polls by an average of 8.1 percent.

Watch Trump’s West Point speech in the video below: