Donald Trump addressed the nation to discuss the United States 16-year role in Afghanistan, which is now officially the longest conflict in U.S. history. The speech about the U.S. affairs in the Middle East turned into a series of allusions dealing with Charlottesville and the unmasked racism that has left the country reeling since.
Last week Trump failed to condemn white nationalists and neo-nazis, instead placing blame on “many sides,” putting the Confederacy and those who revere that ideology, on the same level as the counter-protesters. For many Americans, by Trump not absolutely coming down on the neo-nazis, he allowed them to feel safe openly displaying bigotry. For other Americans, the truth was even more sinister — Trump confirmed his own racism for the world to see.
As Trump vaguely alluded about Charlottesville when he was expected to tackle the Afghanistan approach instead, he seemed to break from the script to talk about racism.
“A lot of very, very bad things have been said about me. You people are trying to make me sound like a racist and a bigot. Sad!” said Trump. “But anyone who knows me knows I am the least racist person you’ll ever meet. Let me tell you a story. The fake news will try to turn this against me, but I’m gonna be honest with you. My best friend growing up was actually the help’s son. I don’t see color, ya know? Never been me. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll say, ‘he doesn’t even see color.’ Listen, I’ll tell you something. I let the help’s son eat my leftovers when we were kids. I mean, I practically fed the kid. He’d shine my shoes. He loved shining my shoes. Gave him a sense of pride. And we did many, many things. Lots of things. But ask anyone and they’ll tell you, the blacks love me. They do. They really do. They absolutely love me. And that’s not a story you’ll hear on the fake news.”
Since the press conference, Trump’s approval rating dropped another percentage point within the African-American community, according to the most recent Gallup polls.