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Trump's empathy for white racial grievance is nothing new

Eugene Robinson on

Note that a personal slight provoked a sharp, speedy, all-caps response. Yet even in the Monday statement, Trump did not call Saturday's horror an act of domestic terrorism.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Charlottesville incident was, indeed, an act of terrorism, and that the Justice Department has opened a hate crime investigation to ascertain whether others may have been involved. Reflect for a moment on how Trump's "many sides" comment made Sessions, of all people, look like some kind of civil rights hero.

There are those who see Trump's initial reluctance to denounce white-power groups as nothing but politics -- an appeal to white voters who are anxious about growing diversity. Yet the president's Monday reversal was clearly a political calculation. I believe what we heard Saturday was simply a genuine first reaction.

In 1973, Trump and his father were sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to African-Americans. He said in a 1989 interview that "a well-educated black" has an advantage in the job market -- a victimhood claim refuted by academic studies and his own record of not having minorities in key posts at the Trump Organization. He maintained as recently as last October that the "Central Park Five" -- four African-American men and one Latino -- were guilty of a brutal 1989 rape, despite definitive DNA evidence that exonerated them years ago.

Trump has called himself the "least racist person on earth." There is no end to the man's lies.

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Eugene Robinson's email address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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