President Barack Obama is no longer in office, but you wouldn’t know this looking at how Donald Trump is carrying on these days. If there had never been a Barack Obama, Republicans would have invented him, because they need a black man to beat up for the sole purpose of keeping their base of angry, white, low-information voters happy.
As the pathological liar that he is, Trump’s most recent stunt is to peddle the conspiracy theory, manufactured from whole cloth, that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. The new president also claimed Obama is behind the leaks in the current White House and blamed Obama for organizing all of the mass protests taking place and for undermining his presidency. This is the same person who just last month said that he gets along with his predecessor,and that the two men like each other. Trump was the only person who believed this.
The current occupant of the White House needs a black man as his boogeyman. Trump made his bones in politics years ago, in 1989, during the Central Park Five case. After a white woman jogger was raped in Central Park, he took out an ad in the major New York daily newspapers calling for a return of the death penalty. Five black and Latino teens were falsely arrested, coerced into confessing to a crime they did not commit, and wrongfully convicted of the brutal crime.
Trump helped create the atmosphere that led to the legal lynching of these boys. Even after DNA evidence exonerated them years later, Trump insists to this day they are guilty. Because in the world of Trump, beating up on black men and pimping alternative facts matters.
Let us not forget that Trump was a leader of the Birther movement — those who believe the unhinged, racist conspiracy theory that Obama was foreign-born and therefore an illegitimate president. Trump began testing the political waters in March 2011, appearing on ABC’s “The View” and demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate. “I want him to show his birth certificate. I want him to show his birth certificate,” Trump said. “There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”
Trump’s debut with Birtherism allegedly came around the same time he started talking to the Russians. According to Christopher Steele — the former British intelligence agent who prepared a dossier on allegations surrounding Trump’s ties to Russia — operatives tied to the Kremlin cultivated a relationship with the then-presidential aspirant.
“In the birther movement, Mr. Trump recognized an opportunity to connect with the electorate over an issue many considered taboo: the discomfort, in some quarters of American society, with the election of the nation’s first black president,” Steele wrote in the dossier. “He harnessed it for political gain, beginning his connection with the largely white Republican base that, in his 2016 campaign, helped clinch his party’s nomination.”
Now, Trump also continues to “blame it on a black man” by railing against Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Throughout the Obama administration, the Republicans vilified healthcare reform because they did not want the black man to take credit for anything. Repeal of Obamacare was their mantra. While they had years to come up with a replacement, now they’ve cobbled together a half-assed, half-baked piece of garbage legislation — presumably while they still can, before Trump faces the possibility of impeachment — that even conservatives hate.
This will not change, no matter how many Powerpoint presentations come from Speaker Paul Ryan. All along, Trump’s point was not to come up with a viable replacement for Obamacare. The whole idea was to hate on Obama and destroy his legacy, based on the underlying assumption that anything black people create is no good and of no value and at the very least cannot be allowed to succeed.
Trump began his political career by scapegoating Obama. Now, Trump can’t let go of Obama the private citizen because he needs a boogeyman, a whipping boy — a black man to blame for the mess that is his presidency.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove.