Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of President Donald Trump, said the reports that his father is racist are fake news and that the proof is in pictures of Trump with several Black rappers, among others.
In an interview Sunday with Daily Caller, an online publication that the Southern Poverty Law Center stated has a "white nationalist problem" as it employed one of the organizers of the deadly "Unite the Right" neo-Nazi march on Charlottesville in August, Trump Jr. expressed his feelings.
Interviewer Ginni Thomas asked, "What do you think about the left's efforts to frame your dad and anyone who supports your dad as a hater, as a racist, as a fascist?" Thomas is married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, according to ABC News.
"Well, I think it's terrible for a couple reasons," the exotic animal hunter responded. "I spent this on the campaign trail when it was so obvious that was sort of the game plan. You know, 'we're gonna smear you with racist, fascist, whatever.' The real problem is those things exist. Certainly, racism exists but if it's your response to any argument you can't win, you actually do [a] real disservice to those people actually afflicted by it."
Before and after Barack Obama became the first Black president, Trump fueled the "Birther Movement" claiming Obama was born in Kenya. Yet, Trump Jr. said his father taking pictures with Black entertainers means he's not racist.
"It's been terrible to watch," Trump Jr., 40, said. "I see, I know him [the president], I've seen him my whole life. I've seen the things he's done. You know it's amazing — all the rappers, all his African American friends, from Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, have pictures with him."
That sounds similar to the cliché, "I have Black friends, I can't be racist."
"It was only when he got into politics that all of a sudden, 'Oh, he's the most terrible human being ever,'" Trump Jr. added.
Yes, Trump has taken photos with rappers including Diddy, Ja Rule and Snoop Dogg, and he even had a questionable meeting with Kanye West in 2016 to "discuss multicultural issues."
However, he's not friendly with all Black rappers, as he blasted Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter on Twitter following an interview where Carter discussed the Black unemployment rate.
"Yes, it's disappointing and hurtful. It is hurtful ... because he's like looking down on a whole population of people," the rapper and businessman said over the weekend.
Trump's pictures do not negate racist rhetoric and actions going back to the 1970s, before he was a reality TV show star and president.
In 1973 a federal lawsuit was brought against Trump and his company for racial discrimination against Black people at Trump housing developments in New York. The Justice Department sued Trump; his father, Fred; and Trump Management in order to obtain a settlement in which Trump and his father would promise not to discriminate, according to NPR.
The New York Times reported, "Trump treated Black employees at his casinos differently from whites, according to multiple sources. A former hotel executive said Trump criticized a Black accountant: 'Black guys counting my money! I hate it. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it's probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in Blacks.'"
In 1989, five Black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were wrongly convicted of viciously assaulting and raping a white woman, Trisha Meili, in New York City's Central Park. Trump placed full-page ads in the four daily papers in New York City, calling for the return of the death penalty and the execution of the teens.
"Muggers and murderers," Trump wrote, "should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes."
He spent $85,000 on the ads.
More recently, while campaigning for president and after he took office, Trump continually used negative rhetoric, as well as the term "inner cities," when referring to Black communities. In March, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, had to tell Trump that some of his language directed toward African American communities has been "hurtful."
Rep. Elijah Cummings confronted Trump about his language regarding Black communities.
Shermichael Singleton, a young, Black conservative Republican, was a top aide for Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary. Singleton lost his job in February 2017 for criticizing Trump's rhetoric about the Black community while campaigning for president. During his vetting process to work with the Trump administration, an op-ed Singleton wrote for The Hill surfaced and he was fired.
Trump has retweeted alt-right leader Richard Spencer. The president said there was fault on "many sides" following the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville. He did not take a hard stance against white supremacy. Instead, in essence, he said neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members trying to incite a race war was equivalent to those who protested their hate, like 32-year-old Heather Heyer — who was killed by a 20-year-old white supremacist who ran her over with his vehicle.
Trump called the predominantly Black NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality "sons of bitches," and he reportedly referred to Haiti and several African nations as "shithole" countries during an immigration meeting in January.
During his late night talk show on Tuesday, Stephen Colbert slammed Trump Jr. for defending his father: