Posted on February 7, 2020

Trump’s State of the Union Speech Was a White Supremacist Vision of America

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post, February 7, 2020

President Trump defiled the majesty of the East Room of the White House with a vulgar display of vindictiveness that shocked even those of us who didn’t expect anything less.


Under any other president, the end of that annual speech before a joint session of Congress is a clarion call to unity, a moment of national reassurance. {snip} What I heard was a white supremacist vision of America that alternately erased and whitewashed its history.

“This is the home of Thomas Edison and Teddy Roosevelt, of many great generals including Washington, Pershing, Patton and MacArthur. This is the home of Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong and so many more,” Trump said, tossing in Douglass and Tubman like a couple of Skittles in a bucket of milk.

“The American nation was carved out of the vast frontier by the toughest, strongest, fiercest and most determined men and women ever to walk on the face of the Earth,” Trump said. {snip}

“Our ancestors braved the unknown; tamed the wilderness; settled the Wild West; lifted millions from poverty, disease and hunger; vanquished tyranny and fascism; ushered the world to new heights of science and medicine; laid down the railroads, dug out the canals, raised up the skyscrapers,” Trump said. “And, ladies and gentlemen, our ancestors built the most exceptional republic ever to exist in all of human history, and we are making it greater than ever before.”

When the words “we” and “our ancestors” tumble out of Trump’s mouth, the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. For his “we” and “our” come off as a clarion call to whiteness. Trump’s “canvas” and “masterpiece,” as he depicted our nation, are devoid of the actual color and complexity that make art and America great. Instead, the president painted a Potemkin paradise where the rest of us deal with the consequences of his lies, white nationalism and vindictiveness. Given Trump and the people around him, I can only believe this was intentional.