“Those People:” Trump plays to White nat’lism from N. Korea to NFL

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Trump’s dreary tweetstorm on Saturday was intended to gain him popularity with white supremacists and the covert racists on the right of the Republican Party, through beating up on uppity black athletes and impudent yellow peril Orientals. He ended up saying,

That is, the president of the United States casually threatened to commit genocide against an entire people, on the same medium where people celebrate the exploits of their cats.

At home, Trump told a white crowd that it hurts the game of football “when people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem.”

He actually said “those people.”

Trump figures it bolsters his popularity with white Christians, his key demographic, if he is seen to be feuding with black athletes of the NBA and NFL, and if he is seen threatening genocide against North Korea.

The natural order of things, he is saying, is a hierarchy with rich white American Christians on top, and then middle class white Christians elevated above all but their own rich. All other “races” and social classes come at the bottom. And if they themselves decline to recognize this pecking order, they must be put down with taunts.

Hence his crack at Venezuela that its problem is that socialism has been implemented there. Brown people governing themselves and declining the rule of white billionaires is unnatural and leads to chaos. That the white billionaires and their barracuda capitalism could destroy a country, like Iraq, is hushed up.

When he isn’t engaged in a taunting contest with Kim Jong Un, he goes after African-American sports figures:

Curry had said he declined to come to Trump’s white house, which after all encouraged the “very fine people” like those who beat up a young Black man in Charlottesville.

Trump cannot stand being upstaged, so after the invitee withdrew, Trump fired him.

Then LeBron James weighed in:

That was a great day for Trump. The politics of racial division were on full display. He even got a tweet in against Iran’s ballistic missile program, complaining that Iran can hit Israel and that the Iran deal was bad for the US. He neglected to mention that the Joint Plan of Collective Action or JCPOA, the Iran deal, did not address the issue of Iran’s missile program, only its nuclear enrichment activities. He also neglected to mention that Israel has the best military in the Mideast and has stockpiled hundreds of nuclear warheads, whereas Iran barely has an air force and no longer even has a nuclear enrichment program, much less a bomb.

The point was that Iranians are brown people acting uppity toward the white hyperpower and its Mideast client. They thus parallel the N. Koreans.

As for 3.4 million US citizens in Puerto Rico, who are without electricity and will be for months, who desperately need aid, they have not been on Trumps mind, as far as you could tell. The US is ruining Puerto Rico by keeping it as not a state but not part of the US, either. Its people can come to the mainland freely, and so it has lost hundreds of thousands of the young, the energetic, the adequately wealthy to move. The poor and the old were left behind. Now a hurricane given extra power by the carbon dioxide emissions of the mainland has devastated the island, but Trump cannot be bothered to tweet out so much as well wishes (he did give one brief speech).

Trump goes after everyone but the white supremacists and Vladimir Putin. Why?

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28 Responses

  1. “Trump goes after everyone except the white supremacists and Putin” I don’t quite see why you lump Putin with white supremacists as Trump doesn’t go after the British prime minister Mrs May, the French president or the German president, the Australian prime minister etc etc. I agree with you That Trump clearly doesn’t like brown people except of course if they live in Saudi Arabia. Its a pity that the great storms of recent times don’t descend of Washington and vent their fury on the global warming denying brigade there. Perhaps then they would take the matter seriously.

    • Trump attacked Germany’s Chancellor for her immigration policies. He had a conversation with the Australian Prime Minister, which apparently was quite insulting though the Australians are afraid to talk about it. I’m sure he’ll have something to say about Macron, who defeated one of Trump’s fellow travelers. Note that Putin also sent aid and support to neo-fascist parties in France and Germany (the latter of which this weekend won an unprecedented 88 or so seats in the Bundestag), so Putin has lumped himself with White supremacists using Russian tax money.

    • Trump has made his contempt for these leaders obvious on numerous occasions. He seems to get on well enough with Theresa May, but won’t lift a finger to help the UK get out of the mess we’re in over leaving the European Union. All the surface bonhomie of his visit to Emmanuel Macron couldn’t persuade Trump to reverse his decision to leave the Paris climate agreement. He presented Chancellor Merkel with an “invoice” for Germany’s supposed shortfall in financing NATO. He had a blazing row with the Australian prime minister within hours of becoming president.

  2. I have suspected in the past that racists would deal with equality by simply condemning every national institution and industry where minorities have gotten too much credit. I was wrong that this would happen in the military, because as the economy of the White heartland has hollowed out plenty of Red-State Whites poured into Bush’s military to overwrite its growing diversity, culminating today in Trump’s lily-White junta-in-waiting.

    However, other industries seem to indeed be getting stripped of their “Americanness” by the racists whom we allow to be arbiters of such things. They are creating their own alternate culture and culture industries as a replacement American Way of Life. They go to their own special Christian movies and listen to their own Christian pop music (hardly religious music as civilization has known), egged on by their own phalanx of Christian TV networks. All of that is partly a rejection of too many Black and LGBTQ faces succeeding in the entertainment marketplace.

    So now the crisis comes to sports, and it is revealing. The Red States have subtly shifted their enthusiasm from the NFL back to the college game. Why? Because the Blacks there remain under the firm authoritarian pyramid created to exploit them while covering up their misdeeds.

    Some of the more articulate right-wingers say they only want Blacks forced to be part of the “ownership society”, participating in the free market as goods-exchanging property owners like the rest of us (!). Yet in pro sports, one of the few areas of life where labor has enough leverage to be treated by the capitalist class as fellow businessmen, at least as millionaires are treated by billionaires, we see White backlash. Not from the billionaires – except for the one in the White House – but from relatively poor White fans. They’re offended that Blacks don’t have to undergo conversion therapy to cleanse them of their Black identity and culture before becoming worthy of all that publicity and money. They like these athletes under control in college, though that environment is far more hypocritical, with so many local police forces inclined to work with the godlike coaches to shield the most useful athletes from their crimes. College is a fantasyland of student-athletes living up to standards and codes, subservient to Coach.

    Add in the fact that the NFL is a private business while most college powers are state-owned institutions, and we are truly through the looking glass. Watch how Southerners would scream if they thought for a second that the win-loss record of their favorite (and increasingly inaccessible) state colleges would be damaged by the sort of privatization that they demand in every other area of American life.

    But the college athlete of today, especially the one with pro prospects, doesn’t worship Coach or the flag. He worships the pro players. America has shown that it puts no value on anyone else from his neighborhood. A whole lot of contradictions and hypocrisy are about to spill out as Trump prosecutes his new war against them.

  3. “…the same medium where people celebrate the exploits of their cats.”

    The world would probably be calmer and safer if somebody were to give Reichspräsident Strumpf a cat to keep him company. Although it might not be such a good gig for the cat.

  4. You are right Professor Cole, this weekends conversation should have been all about Puerto Rico. Let’s see how fast our racist leader Trump flys down there to San Juan to spread the relief. My guest Trump won’t show up for he doesn’t need a Puerto Rican vote which doesn’t in his mind count anyway. Or better said, the Puerto Rican vote isn’t White enough. The one thing for sure, Trump is no Uniter.

    • There were so many hurricanes this summer that Trump got to choose which one would be his Katrina. Naturally, the one with the fewest White faces.

  5. Excellent post! Racism pervades everything Trump and the GOP do, from North Korea to Puerto Rico, from Iran to sports, and on and on. If we cannot transcend our grim historical inheritance here, we are doomed as a country–and we can easily doom the species, of course.

    • Trump has disinvited the captain of the NBA champions, thus guaranteeing that they will not visit him, while the NHL champions are loudly tweeting their audience with him and NASCAR owners talk about what they’d do to protesting drivers (of course, none are Black so things work out neatly for them).

      This is the future we face. Everything that we think of as being part of America is being forced over to one side or the other of a Mason-Dixon Line across our national conscience. Hockey and stock cars are White, football and basketball are multi-racial. Soon every branch of the military, every hobby, every tv station will have to adopt a tribal identity and then fight the enemy tribe. The police? Well, you already know where they stand.

      Then these two Americas will have to fight it out (again) to see which one gets to say it’s the real America that makes the laws for all Americans. I’ve known for 35 years that it was going to get there eventually, because a dying empire is at the point where its past begins to carry more weight than its future, and our past is irrevocably racist.

  6. If T. (for “Tweetybird” or “Tyranosaurus” — take your pick — Rump and his accomplices were real Americans, they would know that Americans, even white ones, finally draw the line when it comes to their sports heroes. Therefore, in his endless roaming around the playgrounds of the world to see who else he can bully, in tangling with members of the NBA and the NFL he has definitely grabbed the sow by the wrong teat, as James Joyce would have said. Lebron James has already trumped him big time with that unbeatable “but you showed up” remark. The U.S. and the world is now flooded with people deeply and tearfully regretting the day that he volunteered to make so many people miserable on so many levels. Far too much of the white population went along with that , and the Repubs could not restrain themselves, because making the world miserable is all that they have ever stood for.

    • There are few things more potentially dangerous to our country than armed-to-the-teeth angry white Christian men who feel they have lost their place in line to someone who doesn’t look like them in the mirror.

      This is Trump’s base.

      • As they might say in rural Afghanistan, who needs sports when you have a country divided between warlords in permanent war against each other?

  7. These billionaire supporters of the US right wing agenda have created a Frankenstein monster with no nothing right wing propaganda since the 1990s. This has given us Trump. Will this lead to an invasion of Iran? Nuclear exchange with N. Korea? These scenarios would also be devastating to the majority of our billionaire class. I wonder if these billionaires are beginning to get nervous or have second thoughts?

    • When things get hairy, the “billionaire class” will merely jump on their private jets and go somewhere safe. Fret not.

  8. His actions viz a viz Kim Jong un and now ‘those people’ surely indicate a seriously disturbed mind, perhaps not surprising for someone in such a position finding himself in disagreement with the entire world bar Israel, a handful of ME despots, and a domestic minority within a minority. Even his family must be worried. He’s dangerous. He really shouldn’t be left in the presidency. Can he not be hospitalised as incapacitated and someone appointed to administer in his place until he is deemed to have recovered.

    • We have an order of succession in our Constitution. It’s not hard to find online. First in line is theocratic schemer Mike Pence, who raised his position in GOP politics by signing an anti-gay bill only to get hit with a boycott threat from Indiana’s favorite sport, college basketball. He also attempted to prosecute an organization registering minority voters on trumped-up charges, and his state recently sentenced a woman to over 40 years in prison for taking an abortion pill too late in her pregnancy. Many think Pence is more dangerous than Trump because he already is a total servant of the theocratic right but knows how to lie more convincingly.

      You wanna hear what the next guy in line is like? They’re dicks all the way down.

      • Correct – Pence is more dangerous than Trump. His Dominionism is all about control of everyone. And the observation about lying must be emphasized.

        Pence is the fly-on-the-wall who will become President.

  9. To me. Trump is an embarrassment to the country. He was elected using our voting laws legally, but something is wrong with our citizens thinking or exposure to facts about people.
    We seem to be on a de3sruction path at the moment.

  10. From the very beginning of his campaign I have felt that there was no need to waste any energy on trying to intellectualize over donald trump. He’s the complete encyclopedia of human failings. Period.

    • We would better spend our energy trying to figure out why the complete encyclopedia of human failings was so attractive to “real Americans” afraid of losing their monopoly on power to demographic democracy.

      Can you say “The Samson Option”?

  11. What President Trump refusess to accept and why he insists those kneeling are soiling the flag and disrespecting our troops.

    Those kneeling are protesting Trump and NOTHING ELSE! And why Trump wants more vicious hits and violence in football.

    • To criticize Trump is to attack his followers, who know that they are the only Real Americans. Therefore, that’s treason.

      Maybe they are the only real Americans, given the foundations of our country. How far are we willing to go to overthrow that unjust foundation, finally? When do we get our Declaration of Independence?

      • Trump supporters are the MINORITY. Trump LOST the popular vote so, Trump supporters are little more than Russian stooges and victims of bull•••• FAUXNews propaganda. About as far from being “Real Americans” as one can get.

        Our country did not come about as a result of mass stupidity.

  12. I think Trump will accept the challenge laid down by Mr. James. This could make compelling theater, if trump escalates. It could be a defining moment.

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