During last night’s debate Trump touted the fact that his club, Mar-a-Lago, does not discriminate based on race. It was a seminal moment for racial equality in the United States.
Following an exchange on birtherism, Trump, in an attempt to reconcile all of the racist accusations aimed at him, brought up a club he opened in Florida. He brought this up (and we’re not kidding) to point out that said club does not discriminate, “against African-Americans, against Muslims, against anybody.” Donald Trump thinks that he should be praised for this.
In Palm Beach, Florida, tough community, a brilliant community, a wealthy community, probably the wealthiest community there is in the world, I opened a club, and really got great credit for it. No discrimination against African- Americans, against Muslims, against anybody. And it’s a tremendously successful club. And I’m so glad I did it. And I have been given great credit for what I did. And I’m very, very proud of it. And that’s the way I feel. That is the true way I feel.
Here’s a bit of background: Trump purchased Mar-a-Lago in 1985, and turned the property into a swanky country club in 1995. According to the Washington Post, Trump battled with the town council over the a number of issues including membership details. Trump claims the council wanted him to exclude blacks and Jews from the club, but he, being the golden-haired hero of blacks and Jews everywhere, refused to cater to his new white supremacist neighbors. The council denied these claims outright and said it was a zoning issue and the Anti-Defamation League initially thought Trump was using the claim to gain an advantage in court proceedings. But, the ADL did come around to Trump’s side, and most accounts do seem to support his claims.
Regardless, opening a country club and not making it whites only is pretty much the bare minimum. It’s not like he was a revolutionary standing up against oppression—we’re talking about a country club with a $100,000 membership fee. And it was 1995, not 1945.
This is not the first time he’s brought up the “diversity” of members at Mar-a-Lago, he made an identical statement back in March. Using this, the weakest of all “I’m not a racist” arguments, as a last wave of defense is laughable, and it shows voters how remarkably disconnected this man is from the lives of everyday Americans. The only example he can come up with for being racially inclusive or civically aware, is an example that 99.9% of people cannot relate to at all.
Trump wants praise for not discriminating, for not adhering to archaic, Caucasian-centric and wildly reprehensible precedents.
It’s sad that this is the best he can do.
by Jesse Mechanic