Donald Trump’s factually inaccurate attack on Representative John Lewis and his district reveals his racism. After John Lewis expressed his concerns about Trump and the legitimacy of his presidency, Trump responded via Twitter saying that Lewis’ district (Georgia-5) was “crime-infested” and “falling apart.” While this blog tries not to react to every Tweet the president-elect issues (favoring instead decisions Trump makes that impact American families), Trump needs to be held to account for his racism: Four takeaways:
- Racist Assumptions – The facts do not bear out Trump’s assertion that Lewis’ district is crime-ridden and falling apart. The crime index in Atlanta in fact has dropped by about 40% since 2002. The unemployment rate has recovered since the Bush and Republican Recession damaged the job market in 2008. Trump assumes that because Lewis is African-American that he represents a district plagued by crime. This is simply an assumption that is racist.
- Facts are Important – Donald Trump has often been at odds with facts and his tendency to say things that are not true has not yet caused any financial or political repercussions. The sheer volume of factually incorrect statements coming from Trump during an average day makes it difficult to fact check and call him out for his lies. We deserve a president who uses facts to support assertions.
- Interpretation – Kellyanne Conway recently tried to encourage Americans to judge Donald Trump by what’s in his heart rather than what he says. Similarly, Vice President-elect Mike Pence spent time on Sunday morning trying to explain what Donald Trump meant by his racist Tweet. Pence suggested on Fox News Sunday that “what Donald Trump was talking about there was generations of failed policies coming out of Washington.” There is a serious problem when Trump’s associates need to interpret his words and his intent to the American people. We deserve a president who says what he means.
- Hypocrisy – Trump’s Tweet encouraged Representative Lewis to spend less time criticizing the legitimacy of the election and more time helping his district. This exhortation is absurdly hypocritical and, indeed, good advice for Trump himself. To be a more successful president Donald Trump needs to overcome his inclination to “hit back” at those who criticize him.