Jelani Cobb: "Impossible To The Avoid The Conclusion That Donald Trump Is A Racist"


PBS: President Trump's recent reported use of vulgar language to describe some immigrants has prompted backlash from both the right and left. It also raises questions about his own personal history on issues of race, and how his perspective affects the nation. 'PBS NewsHour' host Judy Woodruff gets reaction and analysis from Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker.

JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS: Jelani Cobb, on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, how are his words being received, and are we learning something new about him from this?

JELANI COBB, THE NEW YORKER: Yes, I don’t think we’re learning anything new. There seems to be a cycle in which we hear something outrageous, something inflammatory, something that is undeniably racist, and we say, at this point, it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that Donald Trump is racist.

And then we move on to another series of outrages, and then maybe a month or two months later, we come back and say, OK, this definitively establishes that Mr. Trump is racist.

But there are never any consequences to this. What happened in — and what he said regarding Haiti and countries in Africa is not revelatory. We have understood what these sentiments were during Charlottesville. We understood how he viewed the world when he said that Judge Curiel could not execute his duties as a judge because he was Mexican.

He is actually Mexican-American.

And we understood this from the comments he made about the Central Park Five. There’s a long list. And so we haven’t learned anything new in regards to this.

As it pertains to Dr. King, it’s almost tragically ironic. I don’t think — there have been a number of people who have raised the question of his fitness for office. And we can debate about that, but one thing that I think is clear is he is not fit to address the legacy of Martin Luther King.

I think the most respectful thing that he could do at this point would be to say nothing.

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