I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters. Donald Trump 2016
What value do we place on words? What value actions? Another former member of the President’s administration has tried to cash in on their time in the White House with an “explosive”, “tell all” book. Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose best skill seems to be self-promotion, has created a stir by saying that she has heard the President say the N-word on a recording. It has created fodder for late night hosts, pundits and Twitter, with some saying that this could be the thing that causes his supporters to lose faith in him and one host saying that it would need to be multiple N-words for it to be an issue (lol).
As I sat and thought about this story, I realised it was a con, an okie-doke and a non-story. Trump has been using the N-word for years. The problem is, like most dog-whistles, most people’s ears aren’t attuned to it.
In 1973, Trump was sued by the Department of Justice, charged with violating the Fair Housing Act, 1968. The New York Times reported that Trump’s company had refused to rent or negotiate rentals:
“because of race and color…It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.”
Trump didn’t want to rent to ni…blacks (and Latinos). He may not have said the magic word, but his actions…his actions said it loud and clear.
Then there was the time when he ran an advert in a newspaper calling for a return of the death penalty in New York, when four black boys, together with a Latino boy, were wrongly accused of raping a jogger in Central Park. The fact that they were exonerated by DNA evidence and the actual criminal confessing to his crimes did little to convince Trump.
Ha! We all know that nig…blacks and Latinos don’t play checkers in Central Park! If you strain your ears, you may be picking up on a sound. If you have dogs around, I promise you they hear it.
What about the conversation that one of his former casino presidents, John O’Donnell, recalled in 1991? Trump is alleged to have said:
“And isn’t it funny. I’ve got black accountants at Trump Castle and Trump Plaza. Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. . . . I think the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”
To be clear, Trump did not deny this story, saying in 1997 “the stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.” I’m sure we can all agree that we don’t want lazy nigg…blacks counting our money. No, we only want short guys with yarmulkes counting money (Jeez, I wonder that Trump didn’t go the whole way and say that these short yarmulke wearing men needed to have big noses, red hair, droopy eyelids and beady eyes – Ed). Trump didn’t say the N or the K-word, but his language was clearly signposting what he really meant.
One year later and Trump had to pay a $200,000 fine for removing black dealers from the tables of high rollers at his casino. Good. Those nigga…blacks are bad luck, probably because of their laziness or voodoo. Trump didn’t say…you get the point.
Think back to the quote at the top of this article. Trump is bulletproof to his base. I don’t believe he would lose voters for shooting someone on 5th Avenue. When his base say they love his honesty, I think a large part of it is that he has made it ok to replace the dog whistle with a bullhorn. It feels good when a secret feeling you’ve had but been afraid to share is said by someone else. I am friends with anyone that says George Harrison was the most important member of The Beatles; Batman Begins is the best film of the Nolan trilogy and Prince was the best musician of the 1980s. The endorphin rush I have when I realise I am in the presence of someone who shares the same wacky views I have is real and has led to some of my strongest friendships. So it is with a section of Trump’s base and racism. He’s affirmed that it’s ok to blame the niggas, the spics and the kikes for all of your problems. Because they’re lazy, money-grubbing and when they come over, they don’t send their best…they’re rapists and some (we assume) are good people. And because he’s said what some people have been scared to say, the bond they have with him is real and why they would vote for him if he shot someone on 5th Avenue: his supporters know what that person would look like and they’re fine with one less of “them”.
Think about the N-word. Not the word nigger, or any of its variants, but the phrase “N-word”. It has all the subtlety of a brown paper bag over a bottle of alcohol, giving the merest sheen of respectability to something unpalatable. Whether Trump has said the N-word is irrelevant: his actions have been screaming it for over 45 years.