Donald Trump may have inadvertently re-energized Hillary Clinton’s supporters by once again deliberately disrespecting President Barack Obama.
In one arrogant sentence, Trump managed to anger many in the African-American community, which included the entire Congressional Black Caucus during its annual legislative conference in Washington, D.C.
“President Barack Obama was born in the United States,” Trump told reporters last week. “Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.”
His out-of-line remarks set off a firestorm since it was Trump who five years ago first raised the false issue of Obama’s foreign birthplace, which was a blatant attempt to discredit the nation’s first Black president.
Trump owes Obama an apology, which of course the president will never receive, but it’s yet another example of why there should be a sense of urgency leading up to Election Day in November.
“For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first Black president,” Clinton said at an event in Washington. “His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie.”
I don’t need Trump to legitimize Obama’s birth status and, as a friend suggested, this is perhaps a non-story and we should simply ignore Trump’s constant ignorance.
It’s a valid point but because polls indicate that the presidential race is tightening, Trump, some argue, could wind up in the White House.
Polls show Trump closing in on Clinton in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Iowa and Virginia, and some surveys show Trump leading in a few battleground states. It clearly doesn’t mean that Trump will win the election, but it does signal that Clinton must rally the faithful and win over young people who don’t trust her.
Trump blurted out his absurd remarks about Obama around the same time the White House held a briefing for African-Americans who attended the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) annual conference. The subject of the briefing was Obama’s critically-important My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative, the president’s ambitious flagship program to empower and uplift black boys and young men of color.
MBK has partnered with community organizations and business leaders in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, ensuring that MBK programs will continue – and flourish — after Obama leaves office.
Last week’s session marked the last CBC legislative conference briefing by the Obama administration and while African-American White House aides are proud of the administration’s accomplishments – and rightfully so — it is clearly an emotional time as the Obamas will soon vacate the White House after eight years at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“We will deeply miss the First Family,” said one African-American senior aide.
Meanwhile, in about 50 days, voters will choose a new president and Trump has once again angered the Black electorate.
“He has lived a life of bigotry,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) said during a CBC press conference last week. “If you view America as a land of value and equality and justice, this man cannot be elected. We as African-Americans have had enough. He has debased this election, but more importantly, he has disgraced himself in his lack of respect for the President of the United States of America.”
And speaking at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, last week, First Lady Michelle Obama was direct.
“There were those who questioned and continue to question for the past eight years up through this very day whether my husband was even born in this country,” she said. “Well, during his time in office, I think Barack has answered those questions with the example he set by going high when they go low.”
We all know the facts: Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.
“I was pretty confident about where I was born,” Obama told reporters at the White House last week. “I think most people were as well. My hope would be that the presidential election reflects more serious issues than that.”
I agree with the president, but unfortunately Trump isn’t a serious person – or a serious candidate — so he can’t muster a substantive discussion on domestic or foreign issues.
For the past eight years, Obama has been vilified unfairly simply because he’s Black and Trump, a bigoted blowhard, continues to take cheap shots at America’s 44th president.
What is gratifying, however, is that Obama will leave the White House the same way he entered it: by taking the high road.