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Trump's 'supremacist' views rooted in elitism

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

For one thing, I'm not sure Trump fits the definition of the term. A white supremacist looks in the mirror every day, and he's thankful for having white skin. And he feels superior to those who don't have white skin.

It's visual.

With Trump, there's no doubt that he sees himself as superior to the rest of us. Never have we had a president who loved himself this much, with perhaps Bill Clinton running a close second. When Trump looks in the mirror, I bet he sees a 25-year-old Robert Redford staring back.

But Trump's egotistical view of himself and his exaggerated self-importance appear to have little or nothing to do with him having white skin. They stem from the fact that he's rich, and hails from Manhattan -- which any New Yorker will tell you is the center of the universe.

It's not visual. It's visceral.

However, I will go along with Trump's critics on their other two contentions about the president -- that he shamefully rode to the highest office in the land, in part, on the steam of anti-Latino nativism and that he has, on occasion, just as shamefully flirted with racism and ethnocentrism when discussing everything from Latino federal judges to Muslim refugees to African-American professional football players.

Still, every day is a new day, and recent events have forced me to go back and give more thought to what my friends and family have been trying to tell me about the president being a white supremacist.

When Trump insists that China is eating our lunch on trade, or that Mexico is flooding the United States with drugs, or that Puerto Rico will soon be on its own even as it struggles to recover from a devastating hurricane -- but he doesn't say the same about corners of the world that are led by white people, well, what conclusions are we to draw?

And when Trump puts in a condolence call to a military widow who happens to be African-American, and he finds himself embroiled in a controversy over whether he was rude, insensitive, glib and dismissive, as has been asserted by an African-American congresswoman, well, what are we supposed to think?

Here's what I think: The issue isn't just how Trump sees himself but how he sees others. His sense of supremacy stems not only from his deep-rooted narcissism, but from the fact that he looks down on people who don't look like him. In that regard, the problem isn't that he sees himself as superior. It's that he sees so many other people as inferior.

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Ruben Navarrette's email address is ruben@rubennavarrette.com.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group

 

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