I first remember Donald Trump from the ’80s. Even then he struck me as the worst of the nouveau riche – a lot of money and the type of class you spell with a “k.” 30 years later, he’s giving the Republican field a run for their money in the presidential race – mostly by saying the most racist and offensive things possible.
New York has known about Donald Trump for even longer. The city was introduced to him by the New York Times in 1973 when his comb over was still in its infancy and his looks were compared to Robert Redford. The headline, though, defined the real Trump: Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City.”
Back then, his management company was accused of violating the Fair Housing Act for his 14,000 apartments in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island (he apparently hadn’t made it big enough to be in Manhattan). According to the report, Trump Management “refused to rent or negotiate rentals ‘because of race and color.’ It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not “available.”
Naturally, Trump denied the claims. He said of the charges, “they are absolutely ridiculous. We have never discriminated and we never would.”
He did finally come to an agreement to furnish the New York Urban League with a weekly list of vacancies and the opportunity for the Urban League to fill every fifth vacancy with qualified applicants.
To this day, Trump denies any racism. In 2011, he was quoted saying “I have a great relationship with the blacks” after being confronted with the fact that Barack Obama gets such a big majority of the black vote. At the time, Trump was still talking about running in 2012.
His most blatant racism now has been toward Latin American immigrants, who he referred to as “rapists.” Since his initial announcement, he has far more than doubled down on xenophobic fear mongering.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that he’s had some sort of epiphany when it comes to African-Americans. As recently as last month, he said that African-American youth had reached “a point where they’ve just about never done more poorly, there’s no spirit, there’s killings on an hourly basis virtually in places like Baltimore and Chicago and many other places. There’s no spirit. I thought that President Obama would be a great cheerleader for the country. And he’s really become very divisive.”
What all of this tells us isn’t really much, other than that the Trump we see is the real Trump and that’s something to be very frightened of.
Featured image via Flickr.