From his first public controversy in the 1970s, when the federal government sued Trump and his father over discriminatory rental practices in their New York real estate empire, to the opening salvo in his 2016 presidential campaign, when he said that Mexicans entering the United States were criminals and “rapists,” Trump has regularly fanned the flames of racial controversies.
After Trump’s defiant statement Tuesday that “both sides” bore responsibility for the street battles in Charlottesville last weekend, an unusually bipartisan collection of politicians and others have called on the president to back off from remarks portraying an overtly white-supremacist rally as something benign and reasonable.
What do such comments reveal about his personal attitude toward the nation’s wrenching history of racial discord? Are Trump’s racially divisive remarks just another example of his impulsivity and propensity to be provocative, or do they represent an abiding tolerance of racist views?
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