Donald Trump's Mizzou Comments Reveal Just How Little He Gets It
On Thursday morning, Donald Trump tore into student protesters at Mizzou during an interview with Fox Business News, calling their actions "disgusting" and "disgraceful." And just to double down and be as Trump-y as he possibly could, Trump promised that nobody from the school would have resigned if he had been in charge during the protests.
When asked his thoughts on the protests at Mizzou on Thursday, Trump answered,
I think it's disgusting. I think that the two people who resigned are weak, ineffective people. I think that when they resigned they set something in motion that's going to be a disaster for the next long period of time. They were weak, ineffective people. How we hire people like this... Trump should have been chancellor of that University. Believe me, there would have been no resignations.
There are several things about this incident and Trump's racially charged antics in general that I find not only "disgusting," in Trump's words, but also completely and utterly terrifying. Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise: For Pete's sake, he opened his campaign with a speech where he called Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers, adding that "it only makes common sense" that this is the sort of person who would come to the U.S. from Mexico, as if it's self-evident that we should all share these awful sentiments.
And that was just the beginning of his campaign. Trump has also openly and repeatedly criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, stating that it is "asking for trouble." And now he's condemning students of color at Mizzou for protesting against death threats and other threats of violence. The Washington Post reported that students at Mizzou made statements, such as "I'm going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see" and "We're waiting for you at the parking lots. We'll kill you" on Yik Yak. Trump also called the president of the university and the others who had stepped down in light of the protests "weak," saying that if he had been running the school, nobody would have resigned.
Trump often makes statements that reveal he plans to rule with an iron fist, and that he thinks he can make anyone do whatever he wants (see: his claims that Mexico will definitely pay to build a border wall if he tells it to). It doesn't sound like Trump will embrace diplomacy or democracy at all, but rather plans to be some sort of president/despot, and one who doesn't see the validity in the legitimate protestations of people of color. In August, after Black Lives Matter protesters took the microphone at a Bernie Sanders event, Trump stated that if a similar attempt were made at one of his events, he would possibly fight the protesters. Trump stated, "I don't know if I'll do the fighting myself, or if other people will. [Protesters taking the mic at a Sanders event] was a disgrace."
And finally — perhaps the scariest part of all — is that Trump is leading in the polls, meaning that his racially charged message is resonating with a lot of voters. It's disturbing, sad, and very scary that so many people seem to embrace Trump's racist rhetoric, and would want to see him as the leader of the United States where he could potentially turn his prejudices into polices that would only worsen existing institutional racism.
With the Republican primaries not so far away (the Iowa caucus is Feb. 1), the prospect of a Republican nominee that has a campaign largely built on brazen racially charged sentiments is a very real possibility. I'm not sure what scares me more: the fact that a possible presidential nominee holds such backwards views about race, or that so many Americans plan to vote for him.