Members of the Washington Post’s large stable of Trump haters keep making fools of themselves in the attempt to paint President Trump as a racist. The latest effort, typical of the others but probably even sillier, comes from the Post’s media critic Paul Farhi.
Farhi notes that Trump has “singled out three African American women who are journalists” for abuse ” just for asking him questions.” He then accuses Trump of “reserving special nastiness” for African-American women.
But, as anyone who has been paying the slightest bit of attention knows, Trump is an equal opportunity abuser of journalists (and anyone else) he believes are unfair to him. He’s indiscriminate. Indeed, at the same media event in which Trump allegedly “singled out African-American women” he went even harder after Jim Acosta, a non-black male.
Let’s look at what went down between Trump and the three black journalists Farhi cites. One is Abby Phillip, formerly of the Post and now with CNN. She asked Trump whether he hoped Matt Whitaker, the newly appointed acting attorney general, would “rein in” the Mueller investigation.
Trump responded, “What a stupid question.” He also noted what he considers Phillip’s propensity to ask stupid questions.
Phillip’s question about Whitaker is, indeed, stupid. If Trump answered it affirmatively, he would be opening himself up to new accusations of obstructing justice.
There’s no basis for concluding that Trump answered as he did because Phillip is black. Trump frequently denounces questions and questioners who ask questions that are stupid or that he doesn’t like. Phillip’s question fit both categories. And Trump didn’t attack her for “just asking a question.” Farhi is dishonest to make this claim.
Moreover, the question came from a reporter with associations with two outlets Trump correctly perceives as his enemy — CNN and the Washington Post. There can be little doubt that if Trump had been asked the same question by a white reporter with connections to these two organs, he would have responded the same way.
The second reporter Farhi cites is Joy Reid. Reid is an embarrassment. She runs a close second to Acosta in the anti-Trump obnoxiousness sweepstakes and seems eager to close the slight gap between the two.
Farhi notes that, during a White House news conference this week, Trump barked at Ryan, “Sit down, I didn’t call on you.” Farhi glosses over the fact that Trump had, in fact, called on someone else and that Ryan shouted over the reporter Trump had called on, preventing the president from taking the question of that reporter. Trump’s problem with Ryan wasn’t that she was “just asking a question.” It was her rudeness in disrupting his exchange with another reporter.
Trump’s reaction was entirely appropriate and the same reaction a reporter of any race or gender would have received from him. It’s also probably the same reaction most presidents would have had in the same circumstances, though we can’t know this for certain because press has never treated another president — not even George W. Bush — with this much hostility and disrespect.
Later in the week, Trump called Ryan a loser. This is an apt description, and a mild one by the unfortunate standard Trump has set for name-calling directed at adversaries of all races and at both men and women.
The third reporter is Yamiche Alcindor with whose work I’m not familiar. She asked Trump about his description of himself as a “nationalist” and whether that label is “emboldening white nationalists.”
Trump did not respond by attacking Alcindor. However, he did call the question “racist.”
I wouldn’t go that far, but I think I understand what the president was getting at.
As I explained here, the idea of nationalism, and certainly of Trump’s, is to put the national interest ahead of the interests of foreigners and foreign nations. This means the interests of all groups of Americans, not just whites and Christians.
Thus, to suggest that Trump’s nationalism supports “white nationalists” is a slander. And it seems to exclude the interests of blacks, Jews, and other minority groups from America’s interests.
This, I think, is why Trump called the question racist.
In any event, the question is certainly one Trump doesn’t like. Given his track record, we can fairly assume he would have denounced the question regardless of the questioners race.
The fact that the Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets continue to attack Trump with the kind of ridiculous accusations of racism contained in Farhi’s hit piece confirms that he is justified in perceiving the mainstream media as his enemy and in attacking it. Indeed, Trump is performing a real service by doing so.