A Trump campaign coordinator, Kathy Miller, was forced to resign on Thursday after The Guardian published an interview in which she said racism was nonexistent “until Obama got elected.”
It’s the latest evidence that Donald Trump’s phony minority outreach effort is failing miserably.
Miller, chair of the Trump campaign in Ohio’s Mahoning County, said:
I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected. We never had problems like this … Now, with the people with the guns, and shooting up neighborhoods and not being responsible citizens, that’s a big change, and I think that’s the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America. And if you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault …When do they take responsibility for how they live?
Her comments aren’t just offensive – though pretty unsurprising given how many Trump supporters subscribe to this bigotry – but they are also firmly rooted in a version of reality that exists only in the minds of those who support the Republican nominee.
It’s an alternate reality where the African-American community is, as Trump now says repeatedly, riddled with uneducated, violent, and impoverished people. It’s a dystopian fantasy meant to appeal to people’s worst instincts.
It’s obvious that racism existed not just before Obama’s presidency, but before he was even born. And it’s certainly true that bigotry has often reared its ugly head during his two terms.
What this disgraced Trump official doesn’t seem to understand, at least not publicly, is why bigotry and prejudice have surfaced under Obama. It’s not because he has done anything blatantly racist. It’s certainly not because he has incited racism or made offensive comments directed at white people.
Obama’s attitude or governing style hasn’t been motivated by a bias toward one race or another. Instead, it is the reaction by many, including Trump himself, to this president’s existence that has made race such a relevant issue.
Questioning Obama’s legitimacy, his patriotism, his birthplace, his religion – these racially motivated attacks are things that have, indeed, happened under this president. But is it people like Donald Trump and Kathy Miller who have perpetuated them.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.