❝ I have known President Trump personally since 1986. The private Trump I have known is funny, charming and embracing. That is not the public Trump of today. When he loudly called for four members of Congress – women of color who oppose nearly all his initiatives and who have questioned his fitness for office – to go back to the places from which they came, he unleashed a torrent of hatred.
The “Go back” trope was used by white racists toward African-Americans for 100 years, from Reconstruction to the civil rights era, suggesting repulsively that they should go “back” to Africa; never mind their American births. It was uttered by the establishment at my grandfathers and many others who came here from southern Europe as children in the early days of the last century.
❝ All working in government in America have taken an oath to support the Constitution. The Constitution commands equal protection of the laws by government at all levels. No one is above the laws’ obligations and no one is beneath the laws’ protections. The Constitution not only commands of government both racial neutrality and color blindness, it generally prohibits government officials from making distinctions among people on the basis of immutable characteristics.
So, when the president defies these moral and constitutional norms and tells women of color to “Go back,” he raises a terrifying specter.
The specter is hatred not for ideas he despises but for the people who embrace those ideas. The specter is also a dog whistle to groups around the country that hatred is back in fashion and is acceptable to articulate publicly.
Useless bigot, representative of the worst failings of our nation’s politics.