Jim Hartman: Playing the ‘race card’ — and untruth
President Trump seeks re-election with two fundamental political liabilities — a perception by many of his being both chronically untruthful and “racist.”
The “fact checker” for the Trump-unfriendly Washington Post claims that after 928 days in office, Trump had made 12,019 false or misleading claims. He’s adding about 20 a day over the past two months, according to the Post. Robert Mueller in his testimony before Congress said that Trump wasn’t truthful in his written testimony to the special counsel.
Trump defenders, like presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, invented the term “alternative facts” in defending against demonstrable falsehoods from the president. But the Orwellian “alternative facts” are not facts — they’re falsehoods. In sheer volume, Trump’s untruths have taken presidential prevarications to an exponentially new level.
Democrats and much of the media identify Trump as “racist.” As evidence, they point to Trump’s announcement speech calling Mexicans “rapists, criminals and drug dealers”; the initial blanket religious Muslim “travel ban” to the United States; the “very fine people on both sides” comment after the deadly white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville; taunts to the four “hard left” minority Democratic congresswomen (“the Squad”) to “go back” to countries where they came from, despite three being born in the U.S.
A Quinnipiac Poll in July found that a majority (51 percent) of American voters say Trump is a racist.
Chris Stirewalt, the conservative Fox News political editor, concludes that Trump exploits racial divisions for his own political benefit. He’s “the Great Divider.”
Democrats lurch to the extreme left and their most strident condemnations of Trump are contributing to the ugly political scene. Adding to division is the blatant effort by Democrats to “play the race card” as well. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are practitioners of dishonest racial identity politics and knowingly promoting a terrible “Big Lie.”
Warren misrepresented herself as Native American for political gain. Mocked by Trump as “Pocahontas,” Warren underwent a DNA test, which showed she “could have” Native American ancestry — between six and 10 generations ago. The Washington Post later discovered that Warren falsely identified herself as “American Indian” on a 1986 registration card for the Texas Bar Association.
At the June 27 Democratic presidential debate, Harris claimed authority to speak on the issue of race “as the only black person on this stage.” Harris’ father emigrated from Jamaica and her mother from India. Harris was raised by her mother from age 5. When she was 12, her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a distinguished cancer researcher, moved them to Montreal, Quebec, Canada to teach at McGill University. Harris graduated five years later from the prestigious Westmount High School in Quebec, joining a “Canadian elite” graduate list.
While Warren and Harris play racial identity politics, their “Big Lie” perpetrated on Aug. 9 is inexcusable. Harris tweeted it was the fifth anniversary of the “murder” of Michael Brown. Within minutes Warren followed, saying “Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.” They spread flat-out fiction, libeled an innocent man, and stoked racial divisions — all for political gain.
“Hands up, don’t shoot” became a national rallying cry — until the Obama administration’s Justice Department issued an 86-page investigative report in March 2015. Based on 40 witnesses and a review of forensic evidence the report comprehensively and thoroughly debunked the narrative. It concluded “there is no credible evidence that Wilson (the white officer) willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender.”
The actual facts show that the 6-foot-4-inch, 294-pound Brown was charging at Wilson when he was shot in self-defense.
Warren and Harris ignored the Obama DOJ finding. By promoting a discredited myth — knowing it to be false — they might cause cities to burn and law enforcement officers to be killed.
Jim Hartman is an attorney residing in Genoa.