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It's no surprise when racists claim the name Trump

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- There is a new form of hate speech that white people use to poke at Latinos. It goes like this:

"Trump! Trump! Trump!"

As President Trump concludes his first year in office, his "street cred" as a bully, demagogue and racist is well established. And Latinos -- especially Mexicans and Mexican-Americans -- are his favorite pinata.

Whether he's slamming an immigrant, beauty queen, or federal judge, Trump can barely hide his contempt for America's largest minority. It's not enough that Latinos start businesses at a greater rate than others, receive the Medal of Honor in high numbers, help shape popular culture, pay their share of taxes and raise kids to respect authority.

Now Latinos must put up with constantly being told that they're ruining the country and that America would be a better place if they weren't in it. And all this isn't just coming from some random crackpot. No sir. This crackpot is the leader of the free world.

When you consider everything that Trump has done to antagonize Latinos -- from threatening to create a deportation force modeled on 1954's "Operation Wetback" to pardoning lawman-turned-outlaw Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who profiled them while enforcing immigration law -- it's not surprising that Trump's name has become a racial taunt.

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Politicians use code to send messages, but the public is pretty good at deciphering. The message that many Americans have received from Trump is that Latinos are a foreign menace that usurps resources, takes jobs, lowers wages, commits crimes, imports drugs, speeds urban decay, and gobbles up welfare.

And who will protect the country from this plague? Why, Donald Trump.

That's why two white announcers, a few weeks ago, made racist comments when calling a high school basketball game in Iowa. The team from Forest City was hosting a more diverse squad from nearby Eagle Grove High School, when the two started making wisecracks about the Latino names of some Eagle Grove players. "They're all foreigners," said 76-year-old Orin Harris, a longtime broadcaster. "As Trump would say, [they should] go back where they came from."

At other high school sporting events, the chant "Trump! Trump! Trump!" has emerged as a popular way for white students -- and onlookers in the stands -- to put Latinos in their place.

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