By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor, [email protected]
To watch President Sean Hannity and Secretary of State Laura Ingraham twist and contort themselves this week on State TV (aka Fox News) to spin Vice-President Trump’s losing border wall deal into a win was at once hilarious and sickening.
Trump originally asked for more than $25 billion for a wall spanning more than a thousand miles along America’s southern border (which was fiscally implausible to construct in the first place). He settled for less than $1.5 billion ($1.375 billion to be exact) for about 55 miles of fencing along the southern border. If it wasn’t clear before that Baltimore’s Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi owns Trump it seems undeniable now.
But, remember candidate Trump originally bloviated his vision of a gleaming concrete and steel wall, 2000 miles from sea to shining sea, which would be erected on America’s southern border and Mexico was going to pay for it. Remember that?
If this is Trump’s idea of “the art of the deal” maybe the GOP should have opted for Monty Hall.
Trump’s wall fiasco produced another strange and sordid image this week; that of thousands of seemingly delusional residents of El Paso, Tex., cheering Trump at a surreal rally on Feb. 11. Trump schlepped down to El Paso to double down on the titanic lie (one of dozens) he told during his State of the Union address on Feb.5.
During the SOTU, Trump said, “The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities. Now with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities,” Trump said. Of course it was all pure, unadulterated Texas cow manure.
El Paso has been one of the safest cities in America for several years. However, when construction of a border fence began in 2008 and the year after its completion, crime rates actually rose in El Paso according to analysis of FBI crime data by the El Paso Times.
When the least veracious president in the history of the United States traveled to El Paso to emphasize his slanderous SOTU lie about their city and use thousands of El Paso’s mostly White (I saw one Negro face in the crowd) residents as a backdrop to bolster it, why did they gleefully go along with it?
Because, this nonsense has nothing to do with Trump’s imaginary wall. When candidate Trump would spew his catchphrase lie on the campaign trail, “We’re building a wall and Mexico is going to pay for it,” most of the red-hatted clowns gathered at his rallies new it was all big talk from the New York B.S. artist. For most of Trump’s obtuse cronies the wall never really mattered; what mattered to them was his loathing of Brown people. When he launched his campaign in June 2015, and declared Mexicans were killers, crooks and rapists, America’s burgeoning population of xenophobes had their man.
But, it’s a little deeper than that.
Trump doesn’t just stand as a symbol against the Browning of America; he is the antithesis of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, the man who represents the “original sin” against White supremacist America.
Before Trump descended the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, he really cut his political teeth as the king of bitherism, the racist lie that claimed Obama was born in Kenya and therefore was an illegitimate president. The demographic forecasts of a great Brown wave from the south making America a minority White country has scared millions. But, when Obama won the White House despite losing the White vote (both times), that’s when ish really got real.
Although it seems clear Trump is the laziest man ever to occupy the White House (allegedly 50 to 60 percent of his day is spent in his pajamas on “executive time”), almost every significant action he has taken has been to unravel Obama’s legacy, to symbolically erase him from the history books. Trump’s electoral ascendance is mostly racist White America’s violent resistance against America’s first Black president. The title and sub-headline of Ta Nehisi Coates’ seminal essay in The Atlantic (Oct. 2017) about Trump’s rise says it all, “The First White President: The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.”
So, when Trump stands before the White residents of El Paso and tells egregious lies about their city, they could care less as long as the 45th president forges ahead on his crusade to make America White again.
Ultimately, for them, Whiteness trumps all.
Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.