Letters to the Editor

At a recent Donald Trump rally, while he inveighed against four minority Congresswomen, saying they should go back to where they came from, there were chants of “send her back" about one of the four, Somali-born llhan Omar. The other three were born in the United States.

President Trump's performance at his rallies follows a familiar pattern. He works up his crowd of cheering supporters to the point where they start behaving as badly as their hero. In contrast to this raucous response at this rally, only a few Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives showed some backbone and took a stand against that racist behavior. The White House Staff was no better, either remaining silent or dreaming up some nonsensical explanation of what the president said.

But the vile talk from the president did bring a rare rebuke from Fox. These are some excerpts of what the legal analyst Andrew Napolitano said. Government workers take an oath to support the Constitution, which itself not only commands of government both racial neutrality and color blindness, it generally prohibits government officials from making distinctions among people on the basis of immutable characteristics. So, when the president defies these moral and constitutional norms and tells women of color to "go back," he raises a terrifying specter. The specter is hatred not for ideas he despises but for the people who embrace those ideas.

If someone at Fox can see the racist feelings inherent in the president’s words, why can’t others? Perhaps most Republicans in Congress and the White House staff all feel the same as the president does regarding people of color. How can they not know he has a history of racist statements and actions? That history goes back at least to the 1970s when his company was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for housing discrimination against African American renters. There followed other instances; for example, the Central Park jogger case, Barack Obama’s citizenship, the Hispanic judge, Mexican immigrants, immigrants from Haiti and Nigeria, immigrants from Norway and Charlottesville, Virginia.

With this background and  the active encouragement at his rallies and the passive attitude of virtually all congressional Republicans, it is no surprise that the president shows no inclination to change. And those who actively support or opt not to challenge his racist slurs are fully complicit in his behavior.

Frank Ruocco