Sarah Huckabee Sanders Can't Guarantee Trump Hasn't Had Verbal Relations With The N-Word
Donald Trump insists that the reports of his using a certain racial epithet (you know, the one in most Quentin Tarantino films) are greatly exaggerated. Trump recently tweeted that the word isn't even in his already limited "vocabulary" (maybe that's why he didn't appreciate Django Unchained) and that "The Apprentice" producer Mark Burnett called him to say there are absolutely no tapes of Trump saying that "terrible and disgusting word" he doesn't know. It's a weird denial -- sort of like if your spouse asked if you'd cheated on them with their cousin and your response was, "Do they regularly delete their texts? If so, then no, no, I have not."
Trump's official White House liar Sarah Huckabee Sanders choked when her arch enemies in the press asked her Tuesday if she could just, you know, "guarantee" that there were no tapes of Trump saying the "n-word." Simple enough, right? She doesn't have to go on record as saying that Trump's never used the word, just that he's not been recorded doing so Apparently even that is a stretch for a woman who probably fantasizes about forcing April Ryan and Jim Acosta to declare that she's holding up five fingers instead of four.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders says she "can't guarantee" President Trump hasn't uttered the n-word on any recordings https://t.co/GiRW8kcLMv— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeed News)1534275177.0
Sanders is better than this, and by better, I mean not as fecklessly evil. [CITATION NEEDED. - Ed.] She could've said, "The president has dabbled in acting. There could be tapes of him rehearsing a monologue from August Wilson's Fences, and if you don't think he could be a convincing Troy, then you're the real racist."
So, the tapes probably exist. Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, who is apparently a bionic woman containing multiple recording devices, taped a meeting where she and other embarrassments to their people discuss how to "spin" such a possibility. This took place before Trump was elected and managed to single-handedly "solve a problem like black people," which was what Sanders wanted to remind all us ungrateful colored folk.
"This president, since he took office, in the year and a half that he's been here, has created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans. That's 700,000 African-Americans that are working now that weren't working when this president took place. When President Obama left after eight years in office — eight years in office — he had only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans. President Trump, in his first year and a half, has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years."
The New York Times refuted the lie-laced lemonade Sanders was trying to serve, not that this was ever a relevant response to the question, "Is the President racist?" Sanders was clearly directing her made-up figures at the white people who want to think black folks were just smoking cigarettes and watching "Captain Kangaroo" on our Obamaphones before Trump put us back to work.
I think it's less a matter of if the "n-word" tape exists but when it'll drop like a new Wu-Tang track. "Shame on a Trump" will rock the charts, but will it really rock his presidency? Perfectly reasonable people who aren't black think so.
I embrace the ratio on this one. I completely concede I might be wildly overestimating the American electorate and… https://t.co/gQao1Ter4o— Susan Hennessey (@Susan Hennessey)1534267334.0
Hennessey conceded that her prediction is "naive" and likely "wrong," which is something, but I don't think black people will "gleefully" delight in seeing her proven wrong. It's frankly just depressing as a black American to live in a world where our allies are so far removed from our lived experience.
I was either called a nigger or heard the word causally spoken fairly often growing up in South Carolina. I remember this kid Dusty in seventh grade explaining that he didn't consider me a "nigger." That was for guys like "Tyrone" or "Malcolm." Dusty is in his mid-40s now. He probably has kids. Will he want to tell his children that Trump is no longer president because he said a word that he himself used (uses?) frequently?
In high school, I recall some white girls in free period complaining about "niggers" looking at them the wrong way and flirting with them. They are going to demand Trump resign because he used the same word? It's safe to presume that my classmates' parents, uncles, aunts also used the word. They would all be Trump's age or even younger. That's a lot of voters who've indulged in Trump's possible racial indiscretions.
My generation after all came of age during the Tarantino-led "nigger is just a word" movement. I knew lots of hip white liberals who unashamedly recited the "dead nigger storage" scene from memory.
Watching this now, there is the obvious power play of a white guy shouting the word at capital "B" black man Samuel L Jackson. Don't try this at home, dudes.
Chris Rock has since regretted his "Black People vs. Niggers" routine, which many self-declared non-racist whites invoked when defending describing "those" black people that way. I bet Colin Kaepernick has been called a nigger in many Trump-voting homes. This is the likely defense of Trump if a tape emerges: he's not calling all black people "nigger," which is racist, just a specific black person, which is basically slurring someone based on the "content of one's character." Even Martin Luther King Jr. would approve!
Remember that Trumpism is rooted in cultural resentment, and white people greatly resent the fact that black people can freely use a term that they can't. Remember the furor when Obama dared utter the word? This manifests often as concern trolling. Take this tweet from Breitbart host Joel B. Pollak (no, really, please get it away from me).
Just hit the local boxing gym, which is owned by a terrific black guy. Hip-hop music, n-word literally every 2 seco… https://t.co/sPxIK7qxRg— Joel B. Pollak (@Joel B. Pollak)1534343540.0
Hennessey's prediction imagines a world where the only white person who regularly says "nigger" is David Duke after two rounds of drinks. No "good" white people ever do and are frankly appalled at the idea anyone would. This reminds me of a classic moment from a Barbara Walters interview with Richard Pryor.
She's totally said beforeThe New Yorker
We're probably going to end up having Pollak's oh-so-earnestly desired discussion about "the word and its public use," because as I said, the tape is probably a matter of "when" and not "if."
Like most things that involve Donald Trump, that conversation will inevitably diminish us all.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."