Reader challenges the assertion that Trump is not racist

Less than 6 minute read

August 13, 2019

In answer to my commentary about Trump not being a racist, I got a letter from a reader bringing up the controversy over his remarks about U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was at that time presiding over a couple of civil suits against Trump University...

From John P:

Did you write that there is no proof that Trump is a racist? Paul Ryan called Trump's depiction of Judge Curiel as a Mexican who could not be unbiased the textbook definition of RACISM.

From the Gov:

Trump’s critics –- including Paul Ryan in 2016, though he still supported him for President over Hillary Clinton –- have accused him of saying that U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel couldn’t be fair because he is Mexican. And, yes, if someone made a blanket statement that Mexicans weren’t capable of being fair, that would be racist, very much so. But Trump was talking about a very specific set of circumstances. As the great Scott Adams (creator of “Dilbert” and expert on the psychology of bias) recently noted, “Trump indicated that Judge Curiel’s Mexican heritage might bias him against Trump because the media had painted Trump as an enemy of all Hispanics. In the legal process, calling out potential bias is normal and useful.”

In other words, Trump was talking about his particular case and the fact that he personally had already been painted as anti-Mexican because of the wall issue. Trump was speculating that in this case, being of Mexican heritage might possibly color the judge’s view towards him.

Adams is right; we call out potential bias all the time in the legal process. Certainly, defense lawyers and civil rights groups do, and it very often has to do with race. For example, if a black person were to be convicted of a serious crime by an all-white jury, you can bet some attorneys and civil rights activists would have a lot to say about it, even if the verdict seemed perfectly well-reasoned to the white judge and all the white people in town.

It’s not always easy to find Trump’s exact quote in stories about his dealings with Judge Curiel. Often it comes just a paragraph or two from the end, preceded by misleading paraphrases. But here’s what then-candidate Trump said to Jake Tapper of CNN concerning the judge, who was then presiding over two class-action lawsuits against Trump University: “...Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, okay? I’m building a wall. We’re building a wall. He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he’s giving us very unfair rulings --- rulings that people can’t even believe.”

If you’d like to read a transcript of the entire exchange, here it is, in a story from CNN…

Trump's attacks on Judge Curiel are still jarring to read

Trump’s critics have skewered him for calling Judge Curiel “a Mexican,” when the judge was born in Indiana. But, obviously, when Trump referred to Judge Curiel as “a Mexican,” he meant “of Mexican heritage,” because that’s the phrase he had used just a couple of sentences earlier. “Mexican” at that point was just verbal shorthand. But the New Yorker published an entire essay based on this gaffe, starting out this way: “The deliberate confusion of ethnicity for nationality is one of the most casually cruel rhetorical devices available in this country.” Whew.

 

Trump’s speculation about having a judge of Mexican heritage preside over a case that involved him personally –- after he had been relentlessly portrayed as hostile towards Mexicans –- did not arise out of racism on his part but simply the fact that he has a functioning brain.

 

Trump met the inevitable criticism with a statement that said, “I do not feel that one’s heritage makes them incapable of being impartial, but based on the rulings that I have received in the Trump University civil case, I feel justified in questioning whether I have received a fair trial.”

(Ironically, in a case relating to the border wall, Judge Curiel ruled last year in a way Trump surely appreciated, giving the Department of Homeland Security wide discretion when it comes to border security. DHS had been sued by a coalition of environmental groups and the State of California, arguing that the government had relied on an outdated law to avoid complying with environmental regulations on three projects related to border fencing. California lost; the border projects could go forward. Judge Curiel has a reputation for being scrupulously fair.)

 

Anyway, once again, Trump’s words were twisted for political ends into something he didn’t mean. I have to admit, he brings a lot of this on himself with the cringe-inducing, imprecise way he often expresses himself. What the New Yorker calls “a casually cruel rhetorical device” is just Trump showing his lack of finesse within a hateful political environment in which a little finesse might help a lot. Sometimes he wields a hatchet when the job calls for those little cuticle scissors.

 

Still, even if President Trump somehow became Mr. Sensitive, the vicious and phony accusations of racism would never let up, because they are all that leftists have now. But those of us who know him personally, and those who perhaps have never met him but who “get” him, know that President Trump is not a racist.

 

By the way, the Scott Adams piece is great. I’ve linked to it below. Adams explains why people who believe a hoax like “Trump said white supremacists are fine people” will cling to it no matter what, even after they see the actual transcript of what he said, even after they see the video, even after the whole fallacy is patiently explained to them. No matter how many times we correct the record, there will still be people going around telling the lie. But maybe they won’t be able to convince OTHER people of the lie if we keep putting the truth out there.

 

The “Fine People” Hoax Funnel - Scott Adam's Blog

 

PS – Here’s a perfect example of the way that treasured leftist narratives, no matter how many times they’re debunked, keep coming back to life more times than Count Dracula: Writing in Slate.com, Jim Newell attempted to defend one of Joe Biden’s many recent gaffes by writing this:

 

“But at least, shortly thereafter, he successfully told off a Breitbart reporter who was trying to promote the conspiracy theory that the media had misrepresented President Donald Trump’s remarks after the lethal violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

 

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/08/joe-biden-iowa-truth-facts-white-poor.html

 

So insisting that we believe an accurate quote preserved on video rather than a biased and malicious twisting of the quote is now tantamount to “promoting a conspiracy theory”?  I was glad to see that this was such a reach, even one of the readers of Slate called him out for it in the comments.   

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Comments 1-25 of 32

  • Steve Hollywood

    08/20/2019 04:08 PM

    zzzzzzzzz...

  • Daniel Lach

    08/15/2019 10:24 AM

    Dear Governor Mike,
    Your comments, all of them - including the fact that the President often creates opportunities for the liberals and their media to bludgeon him - are absolutely, precisely correct. Trump is not a racist but he creates opportunities for them to say it and their delusional followers will jump on it. My concern is that the undecided in the middle will somehow become convinced that he is racist or some other ridiculous accusation the left will put forward - and not come out and vote for him. They have failed on every other false accusation so it is natural they progress to the racist charge, this is their standard last weapon of choice... and they wield it with fanaticism... coordinated lying, lying, lying - like the reader you responded to. Some who do not do their homework may fall for it like this person did. I wish the President would be more careful but I also know part of his plan is to utterly expose the left, their lies, their criminal conspiracies and perhaps most importantly, their plans to undermine our country.
    Keep up the great work, Mike. You have an important honest voice which America needs to hear, everyday.

  • Thomas R Sprenger

    08/14/2019 08:48 PM

    I have said it before and I will say it again that Trump is not a racist.

  • Dina Holt

    08/14/2019 10:34 AM

    Too often, those who brandish the word “Racist” are faulting others for the opinions in their own heart. They may not be mindful of their own bias and avoid acknowledging it by pinning it on somebody else.

  • Sandra Weaver

    08/14/2019 06:31 AM

    President Trump is not a racist. I am so sick of the media, Hollywood and others that keep saying he is and he's supporters. I support The President 100% and will vote for him again. If "We The People" could keep him in office we would vote for him every single time.

  • Karla Miller

    08/13/2019 06:57 PM

    Thank you for clarifying, Mr. Huckabee.

  • Steven Swanson

    08/13/2019 06:28 PM

    The first vote I ever cast was for George McGovern in 1972. Yes, I am old! McGovern could not even get on the stage with the bunch running today as he would be way too conservative!

  • steven gibbs

    08/13/2019 05:01 PM

    I would be worried by a judge that belonged to a legal group called "La Raza", even if the facts were that it was no more serious than an Elks Lodge. oh, that translates to the Race...

  • Thomas Ford

    08/13/2019 04:07 PM

    In this single case I believe that Mr. Trumps comments were to question whether or not the judge
    himself was unbiased I do not believe that Mr. Trump is a racist or holds any other biases towards people at large In his business dealings he has hired more women and minorities to positions of
    responsibility than were required by law, or standard business practices.

  • Kay DeWitt

    08/13/2019 03:25 PM

    Mike you were right on in your defense of President Trump not being a racist!. AND what you said bore witness to the fact that ypu are a true man of God!
    Someone once wrote that a Christian was: "A MIND through which Jesus THINKS... A HEART through which Jesus LOVES ".. ...AND, friend, if your critics are not born again Christians, they are NOT going TO think like you do!
    PLEASE make our beloved President aware that he is NOT born again because it is THE greatest thing you can do for him.... because he knows ABOUT Christ, but he does not know HIM!

  • Singaporygon

    08/13/2019 03:21 PM

    Excellent defense and clarification, Mike

  • Pau

    08/13/2019 02:56 PM

    As a citizen of this country I have traveled to places where there is a cultural racism lived, as in SE Asia. The LeftWing/Marxists have poisoned the mix. I live in an area where even to ask one's heritage is cause to be sued andor/ blacklisted. I can't trust many anymore. Especially as the Church has splintered and I get my teachings on various groups from the Bible. God is not a respector of persons and so I am not. While Donald is rude and boorish at times he is anything but a racist
    I had to go to cultural diversity trainings in the90's and it was taught that Hispanics, especially Mexicans were the most valuable group. It was taught by LaRaza, a radical group that focuses on retaking the Southwest from the USA

  • Whisper Atnight

    08/13/2019 02:37 PM

    The left bending folks in America call fair colored folks bias and racist all the time. They do it at the same time they are accusing someone of racism. Let us look at a Judges RECORDS, which Trump probably did, before we accuse the President a RACIST. If a Judges records shows that he/she has a bias stand depending what case is before them, then it is just to call out that bias before a trial.

  • Mary E. Mendicino

    08/13/2019 02:25 PM

    Whew! So much to say....first of all, I agree with you, sir. At times Trump says things and my reaction is, “No! Stop! Don’t say that!!!!” But then I think, what other man could handle the unfair criticisms and attacks than Trump! With him, it’s a double-edged sword. But unlike “groomed” Politicians, he doesn’t always
    walk the walk or talk the talk. But, that’s why we voted for him!

    Being a female in America, I “see” the game that the left plays constantly. It’s called “mean-girl” behavior. Some one or a group of girls don’t like another female for a multiple number or reasons. But here is what they do, they take every thing this said female does, twists that person’s words around to make (person) look terrible. And so many people buy into the narrative. Why? Because they want to be part of the “cool” group, they are happy that it’s not themselves being picked on, and/or they just like the drama. It’s a method as old as time.

    This is nothing but a continued, “hissy fit” of the Dems/Liberals/Socialists not winning the election! And hold on to your hats!!! It’s going to intensify.

    The only way to defeat a bully is to stand up to the bully. They will tell you that facts don’t matter, only feelings do, but don’t believe that nonsense for a second.

  • Anita Mae Barker

    08/13/2019 02:16 PM

    I understand what President Trump was saying. I'm sure others do, too.
    Bless you!!!!

  • Ed Thompson

    08/13/2019 02:15 PM

    If so minded any person can make anything said by anyone, into what ever they please by being ignorant of or willfully against the person speaking. It seems that we have a plethora of those people today and they seem to have the ear of the main stream media who delight in such nonsense lacking common sense.

  • Dorothy shepherd

    08/13/2019 02:15 PM

    Thx governor huckabee for having a sound mind in all of this. I really do appreciate it. I was born in New Orleans and had many friends trying to protect Lee Circle, (Robert E Lee) circle and I can definitely say there were certainly many fine people trying to protect that statue. They are not prejudiced, they are not white supremacist. All that jargon is a bunch of bunk. That’s why when Trump made the Charlottesville comment I knew exactly what he was talking about. There were a lot of fine people there and there were some white supremacist people there but they were also nice people that were wanting to protect their history and their statue.

  • Janet Anna Hoover

    08/13/2019 01:40 PM

    As a naturalized US Citizen, I can only say that if someone of my national origin was ruling on something associated with my former national identity, I might be concerned that he would have a bit of bias in favor of his origin. I can't say that I wouldn't either. I'm not sure I could even trust myself to be unbiased. To call that racism on Trump's part is really grasping at straws.

  • Terry Ingle

    08/13/2019 01:18 PM

    Never play "gotcha" with the Gov.

  • Nancy Roger

    08/13/2019 01:16 PM

    Awesome response Gov. Huckabee.
    A sane and truthful response in a world of chaotic accusations.
    Thank You !!!

  • Brad Radke

    08/13/2019 01:13 PM

    I believe the governor errs with the statement that rendering judgement about one's ability to be fair because they are Mexican would be racist. A person's nationality or family origin does not determine race. Is this person a Mexican whose ancestors were from Spain, the Mayans, or naturalized citizens, or ?
    Some years ago a baseball coach noted that shortstops who learned the game in the Dominican Republic developed certain common habits in how they played the position, and often had to make changes in order to be more effective in the major leagues. This was erroneously branded as a racist comment. Any ballplayer of any race growing up in the DR playing shortstop was going to observe and emulate the local style. Where you or your ancestors came from does not determine your race, it only provides a clue to a possibility. Labeling people by any method is a mark of laziness, but labeling a person using their race is just one of many methods used. Stated another way, not all labeling is racist.

  • Oscar Williams

    08/13/2019 01:13 PM

    And, gee, could Paul Ryan be WRONG? Could the pretender to the throne be WRONG? Paul Ryan is a RINO who envisioned himself at the Resolute Desk, smilingly rubber-stamping Swamp business before his next public appearance where he would spout (calmly and smilingly) status quo boilerplate. John P. WANTS President Trump to be a "racist", though John P. is stretching that point to the limit. C'mon, John P.: This is the BEST President For the United States, and for honesty and integrity in the whole world, that we've EVER seen. Step back and look at the facts.

  • Jay French

    08/13/2019 01:00 PM

    The opinion expressed by John P was exceptional, well written, concise & articulated simply which means that any functional adult can understand the opinion expressed in its entirety without other explanation or translation.
    Extremely well done Sir.
    1 of the chief reasons the daily mail from Gov. Huck is part of my daily required reading is the overwhelming amount of common sense which is definitely not common among the Media.

  • Ann Ault

    08/13/2019 12:59 PM

    So "RIGHT" on again, Governor Huckabee! I got so tired during the years of Obamanation having to defend myself against the same tired moniker of the LEFT ... that I'm a RACIST because of Obama's skin color! Balderdash!! The color of our skin means NOTHING!! It is character that counts ... I am a HUGE fan of Dr. Ben Carson, Star Parker and many others of that ilk; red and yellow, black, brown and white! I truly am color-blind and love with my HEART! But I do admit that I AM prejudiced against the uber LEFT-LEANING-LIBERALS who have gone out of their ever-lovin'-minds with what they are espousing these days!! Socialism, over-tax the hard-working wealthy folks who give people jobs, kill the babies at any stage including outside the womb, anybody gets a free pass into the USA regardless of their appreciation for this country or their intention once they get here. Take away all the guns from the LAW-ABIDING citizens and the list goes on! I SO appreciate President Trump (and I went from skepticism about him when he first started running, to admiration) and now I just love and appreciate his intestinal fortitude and his LOVE for our country, trying to help the USA in any way that he can (and he accomplishes much in spite of the slings and arrows of outrageous fake news from the looney liberal left!) The President is a no-guile guy ... says what he means, means what he says and YES ... it gets him into trouble! But I believe that kind of transparency and honesty is refreshing and amazing to many in America and the LEFT cannot stand it ... they are fans of the father of lies/author of confusion and don't even know it!

  • louis Zachman

    08/13/2019 12:58 PM

    loved your response to the gentleman claiming Trumps words about the judge made him a racist.
    If that fellow didn't bother with the details of Trumps comments and the context in which they
    were made I doubt he would've gotten past the first sentence of your response,