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Trump's racial legacy is smoke and mirrors

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- What's convenient isn't always fair and right.

I don't like President Trump. I don't like racism. So it would be convenient to blame the former for the latter. But it wouldn't be fair or right.

After white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked a racial melee that killed three and injured 19, the hyperbolic outcry on the left would make you think that Americans of different colors got along swimmingly before Trump came along.

Haven't the same people who are now criticizing Trump told us for decades that America is racist to the core and that we need an honest discussion about race? Well, pull up a chair. The conversation has begun.

And, since we're so concerned with prejudice, can we spare a few words to confront how the media so often prejudges Trump? His critics never let up. They pick on him constantly, finding fault with every word and deed. They're forever questioning his motives, sincerity and legitimacy. He can't win.

Even for me, a Mexican-American O.N.T. -- Original Never Trumper (raise your hand if he also called your immigrant grandfather a rapist and a criminal) -- it gets old.

And confusing. On the one hand, Trump's liberal critics think he is a bumbling dunderhead who can't do anything right. On the other, they're quick to give him credit for creating a scourge as powerful and cancerous as racism.

Imagine the damage this president could do if he were halfway competent.

Within minutes of the unrest, Trump's critics took to social media to insist that he set the stage for the violence. Some insisted that a country racist enough to elect Trump was bound to explode. Others blamed Trump for bringing back racism.

I wasn't aware it had ever disappeared.

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