I’m still working on understanding and responding to Aaron’s comment from a couple days ago (Aaron, can I get those references?), and I don’t have much time today, so I’ll take up some shorter topics.
First I wanted to fact check a line from Aberto A Martinez’ Salon piece that I mentioned in an earlier post, a citation that I had learned of in Aaron’s essay. Martinez makes the case that the mainstream media have continued to overgeneralize statements out of context in order to preserve the Trump-as-racist narrative. Martinez ads a note in a comment on his article in which he talks about the nice things Trump has said about Mexicans on the stump. Here’s the full quote from Martinez’ amended article:
For example, on July 6, Trump explained: “many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it. […] I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their peoples’ great spirit.”
He says such things again and again, to tens of thousands of people at rallies in Texas, Ohio, New Hampshire, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina, Nevada, Florida, California, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, etc. Trump says: “I love the Mexican people,” they’re “great people.” He says: “they’re incredible people,” who contribute much to the US, and that “their leaders are smarter” than US politicians. He says: “Hispanics are fantastic people.” Trump proclaims “great respect” for the Mexican people and their leaders. People don’t know that he says these things because the press does not report it.
That image of Trump praising Mexicans “again and again” to his adulating crowds seemed a little suspicious to me. I downloaded a database of Trump campaign transcripts and searched for mentions of Mexicans or Hispanics. I don’t really know how complete the database is except that is does seem to cover a period from his fated escalator descent until August 29th (according to Word, it contains 166k words, so it is, if nothing else, voluminous). The result is 19 hits for ‘Mexican’ or ‘Mexicans.’ Eleven of these are referring to the intelligence of the Mexican government and their having the upper hand against our hapless leaders. Most of the remaining citations come either from his announcement speech itself, a written explanation he provided later or another interview that followed the announcement. These emphasize the criminal element of the immigrants (citing some particular attacks), and include a few ‘good people’ qualifiers as we remember from the first speech. The last three are typically of this boastful (and delusional) tone I think we remember from the campaign:
Do you know if you want to become a citizen of Mexico – I love the Mexican people. I have many Mexican people and Hispanics working for me. In Nevada, I’m number one. I’m rated number one in the polls with the Hispanics.
There are 41 references to ‘Hispanic’ or ‘Hispanics’ in the database. Most of these are about how great Trump is polling with Hispanics and how great his relationship is with them. Here are the remaining references in which he expresses his opinion about the people themselves.
I have thousands of people that work for me right now that are Hispanic. I’ve had thousands and thousands over my lifetime. These are great people.
Same with Mexico. I get along great. The Hispanics. I love the Hispanics. I love the Hispanics. But their leaders are killing us on the border and they’re killing us on trade.
I love the people. I love the people of Mexico. I love the Hispanics. I have thousands of Hispanics right now working for me. Over the years, I have employed tens of thousands of Hispanics – many from Mexico. I have unbelievably great relationships.
I love the Hispanic people. Incredible energy. Incredible people. I love the people. I have so many – I have thousands that work for me and thousands and thousands over the years and have worked for me. They’re great people.
So within this corpus, that’s 5 distinct times where Trump praises the Mexican people in some way, albeit his sort of smarmy, self-aggrandizing way. So, while the transcript database could be incomplete, it does not really support the alternative imagine of Trump singing the praises of Mexican people all along the campaign trail. The cynical might suggest these are all dog whistles to his knowing crowds who give him a little wink back. Then again, there may just be a lot of his fans who also like Mexicans.
Anyway, instead of stepping deeper into textual analysis of the buffoon that now just does what Steve Bannon tells him to do, I’ll share news of another commercial/donation campaign. Thirteen of Chicago’s finest restaurants are contributing cookies to be sold in a bakers dozen of delight. In this case, proceeds go to Planned Parenthood (donate!), and I’m sure that has absolutely nothing to do with the election.