by Raynard Jackson
NNPA Newswire Columnist
With the mainstream media focusing on the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville riots of last year, many news organizations are basically blaming President Trump for stoking the hatred and racial tension that led to the violence in that small college town, because of his coarse rhetoric on immigration and the NFL players’ protests.
I will concede that Trump is not without blame in contributing to some of the coarseness of our society, but it’s hard to deny the fact that Trump has been consistent his whole, adult life.
Trump has always been brash, arrogant, self-centered, abrasive in his language, and never one to let the smallest slight go without a response.
For decades, Trump has been the toast of New York City elites and the media has always clamored to get interviews with Trump. Anyone who spends time in the Big Apple knows that stories about Trump sell newspapers and his TV interviews garner epic ratings.
Even before Trump opened his hotels in Atlantic City, N.J., both ordinary people and celebrities would line up to get pictures with Trump; the real estate tycoon would parade very influential and aspiring politicians into his office and have them grovel for his support and money; and they were happy to do it, especially if there was a news crew around.
This adulation came despite some of the “negative” things that we have all known about Trump’s business practices; facts that we have known for decades.
In the early 1970s, Trump and his father, Fred were sued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for housing discrimination. The Trumps counter-sued and settled on entering into a consent decree which did not include any admission of wrongdoing.
This case was widely covered in the New York media.
In the late 1980s, Trump called for the death penalty for the “Central Park 5,” a small group of young, Black and Hispanic men, who were falsely accused of raping a woman in the famed New York City park. The five men served years in jail; years later, their convictions were overturned.
Trump called for death penalty for the men in that case, despite all the evidence pointing to their innocence. Again, this issue received massive amounts of media coverage all over the world.
Despite this notoriety, the Reverend Jesse Jackson heaped tons of effusive praise upon Donald Trump at his 1998 Rainbow/Push Coalition Wall Street Project Conference in New York. There is simply no way to explain away Jackson’s high regard for Donald Trump, based on this video.
In a similar manner, the Reverend Al Sharpton cozied up to Trump quite a bit in the 1980s and beyond, according to a detailed expose in the National Review. They had mutual business dealings together that seemed to be based on each of their personal agendas. They each had something that the other wanted and needed and struck deals based on this set of mutual interests.
Trump both raised funds and contributed thousands of dollars to Sharpton-backed causes over the years according to National Review.
Even Oprah Winfrey got in on the act. She and Trump were known to have socialized together on occasion according to Fortune magazine.
In recent interviews, both Jackson and Sharpton have alluded to the fact that they have not changed, but that Trump had changed; that’s why they are distancing themselves from Trump.
Yet, they all had full knowledge of the previous HUD settlement and Trump’s views on the Central Park 5. Why was he not called a racist back then by Jackson, Sharpton and Oprah?
There is nothing new that we have learned about Trump since he has become president. Trump has consistently been who he now is for more than forty years. These Black folks who now want to brand Trump as a racist didn’t seem to mind associating with him when he owned casinos; when he was one of the biggest boxing promoters in the world; when he flew them around on his private jets and helicopters, or when he invited them to appear on his “Apprentice” TV show.
So, the question that I ask Black America and White liberals is this: When did Donald Trump suddenly become a racist? Before he entered the world of politics, he was branded as the life of the party; now that he is president, he is being branded as a racist.
What gives here?
Bill and Hillary Clinton were personal guests at Trump’s wedding to Melania in 2005 at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private members-only club in Palm Beach, Fla. Other notables at Trump’s wedding were: Shaquille O’Neal, Anna Wintour, Simon Cowell, Kelly Ripa, Katie Couric, and Russell Simmons.
For a racist, Trump seems to have a very eclectic group of friends from all walks of life.
An interesting point of fact is that Mar-a-Lago is located in Palm Beach, Florida, one of the wealthiest communities in the United States. Two of Mar-a-Lago’s competitors—the Palm Beach Bath and Tennis Club and The Everglades Club—have notoriously refused to admit Blacks. The Miami New Times reported that Hollywood legend Sammy Davis, Jr. was once kicked out of The Everglades Club, “because he was Black and Jewish.”
In comparison, according to a Complex.com article on the “25 Most Outrageously Exclusive Social Clubs in America” Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, doesn’t discriminate against anyone who can afford the $150,000 initiation fee and $7,000 in annual dues.
The Wall Street Journal reported that, in 1996, “Trump filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Palm Beach, alleging that the town was discriminating against Mar-a-Lago, in part because it is open to Jews and African Americans.”
The obvious answer to my question posed here is that Trump and his relationship with minorities is very complicated, but the lazy media keeps trying to proffer simplistic answers to a complicated issue.
To those who are instinctively going to disagree with this column, please answer my simple question: When did Trump become a racist?
Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit www.bafbf.org. You can follow Raynard on Twitter @Raynard1223.