Roughly three years into his presidency, there can be no argument that Donald Trump is a virulent racist. It’s a defining element of his personality and a weaponized aspect of his politics. At this point, the list has grown so long that it would take ages to exhaustively catalog every bigoted sentiment uttered to date by the man who smeared Mexican immigrants as racists and tried to pass a travel ban on Muslims. Short of literally saying racial slurs on live television, there aren’t many ways left for this president to make it clear that he has deeply ingrained white nationalist sentiments.
In the wake of his dangerous brinksmanship with Iran, Trump seems to have now trained his racist eye on Persians. The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan pointed out on Twitter that the president retweeted an image of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) photoshopped into traditional Middle Eastern garb with the flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran behind them. She was edited into a hijab and he was given a turban to make him look like the Ayatollah.
We know that Trump hates Pelosi and Schumer so his sharing of this image clearly shows that he thinks there is something innately wrong with the way some Iranians dress. He wouldn’t retweet it if he didn’t think it was damaging. It’s a disgusting meme that otherizes and mocks Iranians, uses that otherization to imply that all Iranians are terrorists, and then smears the Democratic leaders as terrorists as well. It relies on ignorance and hatred to work.
Since the Trump administration has failed to justify its targeted killing of Quds Force Leader Qasem Soleimani by providing any scrap of evidence that he was indeed planning an “imminent” attack like the White House alleges, Trump and the GOP have resorted to completely misrepresenting the Democratic concerns about the assassination. Democrats concede that Soleimani was an evil man drenched in the blood of countless innocents, but they question whether killing the top Iranian military official was worth the risk of all-out war.
In turn, Republicans have taken this perfectly reasonably parsed argument and twisted it to claim that Democrats are sad that Soleimani is dead and that the entire party is full of terrorist-sympathizers. It’s the kind of incredibly dense and obviously false narrative that easily takes root in a conservative movement that has been brainwashed by Fox News to believe that liberals literally want to destroy America.
According to CNN’s Manu Raju, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham defended Trump’s sharing of the offensive meme and claimed that the president thinks Democrats are “parroting Iranian talking points” and “almost taking the side of terrorists.” This kind of absurd, bad faith attack is going to be trotted out more and more by this shameful administration as the 2020 election draws closer. It must be condemned every step of the way. Trump’s escalating racism cannot be rewarded with reelection.
WH press secretary Stephanie Grisham defends Trump retweeting a photoshopped image of Schumer and Pelosi next to Iranian flag while wearing Islamic attire, saying on Fox that Trump believes Dems are “parroting Iranian talking points” and “almost taking the side of terrorists”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 13, 2020