Donald Trump Has Already Shown Us Who He Is

As we’ve all seen, Donald Trump’s so-called “outreach” to people of color is really an attempt to convince white people (mostly Republicans that aren’t supporting him) that he’s not racist. Today, at a speech in Reno, Hillary Clinton plans to make that clear.

“Trump’s newly installed brain trust of Steve Bannon, Roger Ailes and Roger Stone completes Donald Trump’s disturbing takeover of the Republican party. We intend to call out this ‘alt-right’ shift and the divisive and dystopian vision of America they put forth because it tells voters everything they need to know about Donald Trump himself,” said Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. “Republicans up and down the ticket are going to have to choose whether they want to be complicit in this lurch toward extremism or stand with the voters who can’t stomach it.”

I have a couple of things I’d like to add to the mix on that one. First of all, we’ve been hearing more lately about Trump’s history of racism – like the way he involved himself in calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five back in 1989. But African Americans got a cruel reminder of Trump’s racism more recently when he led the way in re-ignighting the birther movement against Obama in 2011 and then took credit for forcing the President to release his long-form birth certificate. I know that I’ll never forget that day – mostly because  of a video Baratunde Thurston (author of How To Be Black) recorded with all of the raw emotion that was stirred up by those events. It was directed at one person: Donald Trump. I really hope you’ll take a few minutes and watch this – you’ll never forget it.

Secondly, an article by Jorge Ramos – who has been called the “Walter Cronkite of Latino America” – ends any doubts about who Donald Trump is and what our response must be.

It doesn’t matter who you are—a journalist, a politician or a voter—we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump. Like it or not, this election is a plebiscite on the most divisive, polarizing and disrupting figure in American politics in decades. And neutrality is not an option…

Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins or loses, we will be asked on November 9th: What did you do? Did you support him? Were you brave enough, ethical enough, to challenge him when he insulted immigrants, Muslims, women, war heroes and people with disabilities? Are you on the record correcting his lies? Did you discuss with your friends and family that in a democracy like ours there is no room for racism and discrimination? Or did you just seat idly, silently, allowing others to decide the future of the United States?

Because you will be asked…

Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were right; sometimes you have to take a stand. They did it against the dangerous persecutions of Senator Joe McCarthy and in denouncing the pernicious official spin during the worst years of the Vietnam War.

Donald Trump’s candidacy has created the same moral dilemma and sense of urgency. So, yes, when it comes to racism, discrimination, corruption, public lies, dictatorships and the violation of human rights, we have to take a stand.

When she has been asked about Donald Trump’s attempts to deny this reality, Hillary Clinton has often quoted Maya Angelou. I expect that we might hear this one from her again today.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.