Donald Trump's "Racist" Comments Go Back Four Decades
President Donald Trump kicked up yet another firestorm Thursday when the Washington Post reported he'd referred to Haiti and some African nations as "sh*thole countries." But this isn't the first time Trump has come under fire for what many of his critics — and even members of his own party — say are "racist" remarks. Less than a month ago it was reported that Trump had claimed people who come to the United States from Haiti "all have AIDS." In fact, Trump's history of "racist" comments dates back to at least the 1980s.
For the record, Trump doesn't think of himself as a racist. In fact, he told the Washington Post's Marc Fisher that he was "the least racist person that you've ever encountered." Trump may be one of the most unpredictable presidents to ever occupy the White House, there's one thing he can always be counted on to do: issue statements that inspire outrage, disbelief, and confusion.
So while it's understandable that some of Trump's comments may make you wonder whether you've accidentally picked up a satirical newspaper, all too often the reality is that yes, President Trump really did say that. Yes, he really did say there were a lot of "bad hombres" in Mexico. Yes, he really did characterize Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. Yes, he really did tell a crowd to "look at my African American." And that pattern of derogatory remarks toward minorities predates his presidency by at least three decades.
Throughout his first year in office, Trump has referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas," a disparaging moniker he first used while campaigning in 2016. Warren, a vocal critic of Trump, has argued the president's nickname for her is a "racist slur." And even Trump seems to acknowledge that moniker is meant to be a derogatory remark about Warren claiming to have Cherokee ancestry. Most recently, Trump used the nickname for Warren during an event honoring Navajo code talkers in November.
2. "They Friends Of Yours?"
While speaking to reporters at a news conference in February 2017, Trump stereotyped a black reporter by repeatedly asking her to arrange a meeting for him with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). "Tell you what, do you want to set up the meeting?" Trump asked American Urban Radio Networks reporter April Ryan. He was responding to her question on whether or not he planned to discuss his agenda for urban policy with either the CBC or the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours? Set up a meeting," Trump told Ryan.
3. "What The Hell Do You Have To Lose?"
"You're living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?" Trump said in an off-the-cuff pitch to African-American voters during an August 2016 rally in Dimondale, Michigan.
4. "He's Mexican, He's Got Bias"
In 2016, Trump argued that the judge overseeing his Trump University lawsuit wouldn't be able to be impartial because of his Mexican heritage, despite the fact that Judge Gonzalo Curiel was born in Indiana. "He is a member of a club or society, very strongly pro-Mexican, which is all fine," Trump said in reference to Curiel during an interview on CBS' Face the Nation. "But I say he's got bias. I want to build a wall. I'm going to build a wall." In that same interview, Trump also said it was "possible" that a Muslim judge wouldn't be able to treat him with fairness and impartiality.
5. "They're Rapists"
"They are not our friend, believe me," Trump said of Mexican immigrants when announcing his campaign in June 2015. "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
6. "Somebody's Doing Lots Of Bad Stuff"
"Well, somebody's blowing us up. Somebody's blowing up buildings and doing lots of bad stuff," Trump said in a 2010 appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman. At the time, Trump was discussing his opposition to the Ground Zero Mosque project, which proposed building a mosque near near ground zero in Manhattan. "Well, somebody knocked down the World Trade Center," Trump quipped when Letterman asked him if why he was so against the idea. "Well, somebody's blowing us up. Somebody's blowing up buildings, and somebody's doing lots of bad stuff."
7. "A Team Of Successful African-Americans Vs. A Team Of Successful Whites"
Trump once pitched the idea of segregating contestants on his reality TV show The Apprentice by race. In 2005, Trump told Entertainment Weekly he was considering "an idea that is fairly controversial — creating a team of successful African-Americans versus a team of successful whites." Trump went on to say that while he knew the idea was controversial, he felt a segregated cast would be reflective of the real world.
8. "The St. Regis Mohawk Indian Record Of Criminal Activity"
In 2000, Trump turned to tactics of fearmongering while he tried to stop the New York state legislature from granting the St. Regis Mohawk tribe permission to build a casino that could potentially serve as competition to his Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos. "The St. Regis Mohawk Indian record of criminal activity is well documented," the ads, which ran in newspapers in upstate New York, said, according to Vox. "This proposed Monticello Indian Casino will bring increased crime and violence to Sullivan County."
9. "Black Guys Counting My Money - I Hate It!"
In his 1991 book Trumped! The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump – His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall, John O'Donnell, the former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, claimed Trump hated the fact he had black accountants. "Black guys counting my money! I hate it," O'Donnell claimed Trump said. "The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. Those are the kind of people I want counting my money. No one else."
10. "Laziness Is A Trait In Blacks"
O'Donnell also claimed Trump went on to further disparage blacks by arguing they were inherently lazy. "I think that the guy is lazy," O'Donell claimed Trump had said about one of his accountants. "And it's probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It's not anything they can control." While Trump dismissed O’Donnell's book as the work of a disgruntled employee, he told Playboy in 1997 that "the stuff O'Donnell wrote about me is probably true."
11. "They Should Be Forced To Suffer"
Outraged over reports that a white female jogger had been raped by five black and Latino teens in Central Park, Trump paid for a full page ad to run in various New York newspapers in 1989. The ad urged authorities to reinstate the death penalty to punish the suspects. "I want to hate these muggers and murdered. They should be forced to suffer," the ad, which was signed by Trump, reads. "They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard... Bring back the death penalty and bring back our police." The convictions of all five of the teenagers were later vacated in 2002 after someone else confessed to the crime, and DNA evidence cleared the teens. Trump, however, continued to argue the teens were guilty despite DNA evidence to the contrary as late as October 2016.
This list is by no means complete. There are the allegations contained in lawsuits levied against Trump's real estate business for racial discrimination; there's his characterization of some of the folks marching with white supremacists at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, as "very fine people." But these quotes show that Trump's "racist" remarks are part of a long-standing pattern of behavior for the president. A pattern that emerged well before he tapped into something primal in American voters that helped propel him to the presidency.