Trump defends honoring racists in monument debate

Trump defends honoring racists in monument debate


From Confederate statues to airports named for a film star who as soon as mentioned he believed in white supremacy, the President has decried steps that will strip racists of their monuments and memorials — siding as a substitute with those that would hold the honors intact.

And he promoted a video of a White couple brandishing weapons as peaceable Black protesters marched previous their ornate mansion, pictures that underscored an ongoing racial divide.

Aides and other people round him have denounced all the pieces from the removing of “Gone with the Wind” — one in every of Trump’s favourite motion pictures — to the rebranding of Aunt Jemima pancake syrup, discounting stereotypes which have lengthy been referred to as racist.

Combined along with his efforts to guard federal monuments, Trump’s continued reliance on racist rhetoric and tropes has solely exacerbated racial tensions which have been escalating after the police killing of George Floyd on May 25, an occasion that prompted protests and a new reckoning on racist symbols in America.

Beyond merely expressing his opposition to the adjustments, Trump has aggressively sought the prosecution of people that have defaced or destroyed statues in American cities. This week he has tweeted FBI wished posters searching for details about individuals who defaced a statue of Andrew Jackson close to the White House. He wrote Tuesday morning that he was “tracking down” vandals who threw pink paint on “magnificent” statues of George Washington in Manhattan and inspired them to give up themselves to police.

“Turn yourselves in now!” Trump wrote.

He signed an govt order behind closed doorways on Friday that threatens to withhold federal funding from native governments which might be unable to guard monuments of their jurisdiction. Whether that menace may be acted upon is not legally clear, and plenty of considered the manager order as political theater meant to use an rising cultural divide.

Nevertheless, Trump has continued to aspect in opposition to any renaming or removing makes an attempt, even when these being eliminated espoused brazenly bigoted or racist views.

“Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson from their highly respected policy center,” Trump tweeted after the college introduced it might take away the 28th President from its public coverage college and a residential school.

Princeton’s president had mentioned in a press release that the college’s board of trustees “concluded that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms.”

As US president, Wilson as soon as referred to as racial segregation “a benefit” and mentioned slaves “were happy and well-cared for.” As president of Princeton, he denied admission to African American males and sought to exclude them from the college’s historical past. The choice to take away his title was hailed by former first woman Michelle Obama, who graduated from Princeton in 1985.

As President, Trump has not cited Wilson extensively and has proven better affinity for different presidents, like Jackson, a slave proprietor whose portrait hangs within the Oval Office. Still, Trump’s shock that Wilson’s title can be eliminated adopted his sample of opposing any makes an attempt to rebrand or take away historic markers.

In the identical tweet, Trump lambasted efforts to rename an airport in Orange County, California.

“Now the Do Nothing Democrats want to take off the name John Wayne from an airport,” he wrote. “Incredible stupidity!”

Democrats in Orange County are pushing to rename the airport, citing the Western film star’s professed assist of white supremacy in a 1971 Playboy interview, during which he espoused derogatory views of African Americans, Native Americans and flicks with homosexual characters.

“While some outside Orange County may not know of John Wayne’s beliefs in white supremacy, many Orange County residents have been calling for his removal for years,” county social gathering Chairwoman Ada Briceño mentioned in a press release. “We’re seeing renewed calls for this right now, and it’s time for change.”

In an interview final 12 months, the actor’s son, Ethan Wayne, mentioned his dad’s phrases within the Playboy Q&A had been being taken out of context and that his father “took everyone at face value.”

Trump has lengthy embraced John Wayne’s swaggering persona as a conservative archetype value modeling, be it his exaggerated masculinity or his hardline “law and order” mantra that always disregards due course of. Trump visited Wayne’s Iowa birthplace throughout his 2016 presidential bid, the place he stood earlier than a waxwork statue of the actor and declared himself a “longtime” fan.

“We love John Wayne,” he mentioned because the actor’s daughter Aissa declared that if her father had been alive he would endorse Trump.

“We need someone like Mr. Trump with leadership qualities, somebody with courage, someone that’s strong like John Wayne,” she mentioned.

As President, Trump has constantly opposed the removing of Confederate statues and monuments, although he mentioned throughout a Fox News occasion final week that he would assist putting some statues in museums.

He has not weighed within the Mississippi Legislature’s decision to remove the Confederate emblem from its state flag, and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday mentioned solely, “That’s a decision for Mississippi to make.”

Earlier this month, McEnany demonstrated far better ardour when discussing the short-term removing of “Gone with the Wind” from the HBO Max streaming library, a choice she forged as the beginning of a slippery slope.

“I’m told that no longer can you find on HBO ‘Gone with the Wind’ because somehow that is now offensive,” she mentioned. “Where do you draw the line?”

The film was later restored to the streaming service with a brand new introductory disclaimer (HBO and Source share a mum or dad firm, Warner Media).

An individual aware of the matter mentioned Trump himself additionally railed privately in opposition to the removing of “Gone with the Wind,” a movie that fed racist stereotypes whereas glossing over the horrors of slavery however that he has hailed as one of many biggest ever made.

Trump cited the movie when complaining about this 12 months’s Oscar winner for greatest image, the South Korean-made “Parasite,” throughout a marketing campaign rally earlier this 12 months.

“Can we get like ‘Gone with the Wind’ back, please?” he requested after the award ceremony in February.

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