Donald Trump has confirmed what was already clear – he is a racist. Anyone who cannot see this is deluding themselves or is a racist trying to defend one of their own.
Last year, the US President responded to protests by American footballers, who knelt during the national anthem to highlight police shootings of African Americans and racism in the US in general, by saying “you have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country”. Now Trump has told four US congresswomen of colour to “go back” to the countries “from which they came”.
Telling people of ethnic minorities to “go home” is one of the defining acts of a racist.
Given multiple other examples of his bigoted attitudes, if anyone still thinks Trump is not a racist, then frankly they are deluding themselves. Or, more worryingly, they are racists attempting to hide the fact that one of their own is now the so-called ‘Leader of the Free World’ and make the expression of such abhorrent racist views acceptable in public discourse.
In the UK, his latest remarks were condemned by both Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May, two leaders with little in common standing shoulder to shoulder on this issue. May described the comments as “completely unacceptable”, while Sturgeon said they were “not OK” and that “diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly”.
In the US, many journalists have shied away from describing Trump as a racist, but there is now a sense that the dam has broken. A Los Angeles Times editorial was headlined “Trump is Truly America’s Bigot-in-Chief”; CNN wrote of his “racist rant”; an op-ed in the New York Times by Charles M Blow was headlined “Trump’s tweets prove that he is a raging racist”; the Boston Globe’s report noted Trump’s “long history of making racist remarks”.
However, leading US Republicans have remained disgracefully silent on the subject, a profound lack of judgement and basic morality that will hopefully come back to haunt them.
Even if all this is taking place an ocean away, Scottish and British politicians must not take the same stance. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt should both listen to Ruth Davidson and demonstrate that they agree with May.
It is clear there are some, like former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who are working to ensure it spreads around the world, but the diseased politics of Trump cannot be allowed to infect the UK.