Donald Trump's Racist Hassling of Barack Obama

Donald Trump is unable to understand how an African-American man with an exotic name came to be more successful and more powerful than he is.

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Donald Trump poses for photographs in his Trump Tower office in New York.

Ridicule Donald Trump if you will. But he has, in his self-aggrandizing, delusional way, earned his own place in history.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Donald Trump.]

It's not in the way he would like. Trump appears to imagine that he is some financial and political genius, someone who alone knows how to run businesses and by extension, government. Not so much: It doesn't take any special smarts to make a lot of cash during an historic real estate boom, and Trump in recent years has focused mainly on attaching his name to buildings and events—usually in gaudy letters. Nor has Trump displayed anything close to thoughtfulness or sophistication when it comes to politics or public policy.

Trump, whose primary goal is promoting his own name, is indeed achieving that goal. He is establishing himself as the poster adolescent for the segment of the American public that just can't, or won't, accept that the country is no longer run entirely by rich white men like him. In the hateful campaign to define President Barack Obama as "other" in some way—absurd insistences that he is Muslim, not American, or a socialist—Donald trumps the crowd.

[See photos of Trump's many projects.]

Trump was clearly pleased at his pivotal role in forcing Obama to release his long-form birth certificate—an undignified and demeaning move that the president should never have had to make. But there were enough people in denial over the fact that we have a mixed-race president that Obama, unfortunately, was pushed to release the document. Trump was thrilled at his own power in the situation, but that was not enough.

In the most recent, and really, most pathetic display of Trump's irritation with Obama's existence as president was Trump's ballyhooed "bombshell" announcement this week. Was it Obama divorce papers? Some other "evidence" that Obama is not really one of us? No—it was, laughably, a TV hucksterish pledge by Trump to donate $5 million to the charity of Obama's choice if the president releases his university records, including his applications. Trumps wants the documents by 5 p.m. on October 31, suggesting this might have something to do with Trump's Halloween costume.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 campaign.]

It's no surprise that Trump thinks everything and everyone can be purchased. It's getting a little tiresome that he thinks he's raising legitimate questions about Obama's academic record. Obama went to Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. Trump seems to think that Obama got where he was—Ivy League schools and perhaps even the presidency—through some elaborate web of lies and affirmative action. That's not just insulting, it reveals the egomaniacal Trump's true insecurities.

There have been a lot of misstatements and outright lies thrown around in this campaign, but Trump could set an example by revealing one truth. And that is that he just can't stand the fact that an African-American man with an exotic name is smarter and more successful than he is. It's part of what will hopefully be a last-gasp wave of racism and fear of "other" in American society. And in history books yet to be written, Trump will be included. And it won't be flattering.

  • Read Robert Schlesinger: Obama’s Electoral College Edge Trumping Romney Momentum Message.
  • Read Jamie Stiehm: American Democracy on Parade at Obama-Romney Debates.
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