Trump's race-baiting rhetoric is not political calculation. It's simply who he is.
We also have a president who, if he's not a white supremacist, does a convincing impression of one.
On Saturday, he publicly disinvited the Golden State Warriors' Steph Curry -- one of pro basketball's transcendent stars -- from the White House. Curry had expressed reluctance to visit, and instead of reaching out, Trump slammed the door. I suppose you could argue that rich and famous athletes can take care of themselves.
But recall that Trump and his father were sued by Richard Nixon's Justice Department for illegally refusing to rent apartments to black prospective tenants. Recall that Trump continued to insist that the "Central Park Five" -- four black men and one Latino -- were guilty of a brutal rape even after DNA evidence had conclusively proved their innocence. Recall that Trump led the "birther" movement, ridiculously claiming that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Recall his campaign appeal to black voters: "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?"
And recall his reaction to Charlottesville, where he discerned some "very fine people" among the torch-wielding parade of Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis.
I don't believe this can all be political calculation. I believe Trump is telling us what he really thinks -- and who he really is.
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Eugene Robinson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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