today in black history

March 03, 2023

Elizabeth City State University, now a part of the University of North Carolina system, was founded on this date in 1891.

Did Trump Commit a Hate Crime?

POSTED: April 29, 2011, 12:00 am

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Donald Trump’s relentless quest for attention by spreading lies and raising suspicions over President Obama’s citizenship should be treated as a hate crime and reviewed by Attorney General Eric Holder. His use of the public airwaves, in multiple media interviews with journalists, in which he knowingly inflamed passions against the President by casting suspicions concerning Mr. Obama’s birth certificate, crossed the line of decency and free speech. It had been well documented that the President was born in Hawaii, and despite the evidence, Mr. Trump used his celebrity status to sustain a lie that is feeding anger from elements in this country that are possessed with hatred over the election of a Black President.

In an environment where those fervently opposed to President Obama have appeared with firearms outside of venues where he has spoken, and a sitting member of Congress shouts “You Lie” during a State of the Union address, Donald Trump has done the equivalent of screaming “fire” in a crowded theater when no threat exists. He should be held accountable for potentially jeopardizing the President’s security. Mr. Trump knew what he was doing when he embraced the lunacy of the birther movement to advance his own interests. If he is truly as intelligent as he boasts, Trump knew full well that he was trafficking in lies and disregarded the President’s safety for his own self-serving motivations. Making Trump’s behavior even more reprehensible is that he is likely simply using birther rhetoric as way to draw attention to his television show and has no intention of launching a serious candidacy for the presidency. It matters little now because most Americans would likely not cast votes for Donald Trump if he were running for dog catcher.

In a devious and calculated way, Mr. Trump misrepresented the President’s citizenship and fed into the racist sentiments of some Americans toward Mr. Obama. The President’s race and the anti-Islam rhetoric used to slur him are meant to paint the 44th President as essentially an “enemy of the state.” Conceivably, Mr. Trump, due to his international notoriety, has also diminished respect for this President abroad by suggesting that President Obama’s election is essentially a hoax, a fraud committed by someone who is not a legal citizen of the United States. By virtue of his standing as a supposed American business icon, Mr. Trump should be held to a higher standard. If the average Joe would be cited for language meant to incite, Donald Trump should be equally accountable. Trump was not espousing a point of view; he was acting maliciously to harass the President of the United States.

The gaudiness of a Trump casino is only matched by his inflated ego. Apparently he has embraced his self-perpetuated Horatio Alger myth, and convinced himself that we should be impressed by his “self-made success” that belies the silver spoon that dangled from his mouth at birth. His edifice-complex has littered the nation with a collection of aesthetically questionable buildings that reminds us that money can’t buy class or dignity. Trump’s reality show is nothing but the fantasy of an egomaniac; someone who fancies himself as America’s boss and takes delight in castigating “cast” members who fail to grovel at his feet or meet the standards of “the Donald.” Hopefully, in some not too distant future the letters T-R-U-M-P will come tumbling off buildings the way the statutes of tyrants are pulled down by the oppressed when they decide to free themselves from the shackles of dictators.

For now, Donald Trump needs to be taken to task for the poison that he has been peddling. The joke is over and it was never funny from the beginning.

Walter Fields is Executive Editor of

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