Joy Reid appeared on Nicole Wallace’s Deadline White House July 5 and made the following statement about Donald Trump, based on her investigations which led to her new book, The Man Who Sold America. It is the best takedown of Trump I have ever heard. It is verbatim with one or two lacunae:
There is no data to suggest that Trump was elected due to economic anxiety. What really elected him was racialized anxiety. If your economic situation isn’t as good as your parents you blame it on Mexicans
so you don’t locate it where it actually came from, which is a changing economy, the fact that coal is dead, corporations would rather employ cheap labor overseas; like you don’t process that, you – it’s Mexicans and it’s that simple.
I remember one thing I quote in the book, and it’s not….
Democrats and people of color may not control the economy, economics, the money, but liberals control the commanding heights of culture and for a lot of White Americans the idea that they don’t control the culture, the culture doesn’t revolve around them anymore, that they are not the focus of the Democratic Party’s attention, that they are now looking at these brown immigrants, ‘they care more about them than me. You know, I turn on the tv and everyone who, I am told, is the coolest, the most important and the most impressive, and the most fashionable are black or brown, that Oprah is the person I am supposed to think is the most important, a rich person, not someone like me.’
Donald Trump is your Uncle Jerry, screaming about Japan and China ruining America and Mexicans being, you know, moving into the neighborhood and making it dirty and trashy.
That’s who he is, and so he can live in a gold palace all he wants, he’s them.
Nicole: What is the undercurrent of that culture war. There is a raging hot culture war going on.
Joy: A hundred percent and DT channels that.. Look, DT both resents Hollywood… when he got married to the third wife, Melania, his current wife, he wanted every celebrity to be there………. a lot of stars were there. They disavow him now. None of them would admit to being there now. His third wedding was a star-studded affair; it was the ultimate achievement of his dream. D.T. both resents Hollywood and the cultural elite and craves….. He wants the NYT to love him. He wants to be feted in Hollywood. He wants to be able to throw parties like Barack Obama used to do….. the unveiling of a movie in the WH and have stars show up. He can’t. He’s so angry. He saw, I think in his mind, if the Black guy could get all that by being elected president, well so should I and I deserve it more than him. And I think he shares his bases’ resentment that the culture won’t come to them. That the culture won’t cater to them. The movies aren’t about them. That they are not the heroes of the American story. They want to be the center of attention again. And DT says, you know what, I’ll make you the center of attention, you’re the center of my attention. And I don’t give a damn about the brown people and I will hurt them for you, I will let you watch them get hurt. I’ll do a Roman colliseum for you and put little brown kids and abuelas in it so that you can see and I’ll physically demonstrate that I’m your guy, not their guy and it’s not their country.
Nicole: and it’s not enough for DT. He wakes up every morning over a snarky item in the NYT…….. etc. He has the love of his base but it’s not enough.
Joy: No. It’s not. If Robert DeNiro would change his mind and call him tomorrow he’d be the happiest man on earth. He wanted and craved Rupert Murdoch’s love and he got Roger Ailes. He couldn’t get Rupert Murdoch to fall down in front of him. What he wants is to be part of the elite circle as he sees it. Growing up, he’s the Queens rich guy who looked at the Manhattan rich and said I want to be with them. And they looked at him like he was garbage. They laughed at DT
I’ve gone around the country and talked to really rich people and they laugh at him. They know he wasn’t a billionaire. They know it was all a joke and he knows it, too. There’s a legitimacy crisis inside of him and there’s a bottomless pit of need inside of him and right now it’s being filled by his base because they worship him but he really wants the rest of us. He wants what Obama had and he can never have it. In his mind it’s because Obama was Black and he didn’t deserve it; he was the affirmative action president, just like his base go, ‘that job I should have gotten, that person got it because they were Black.’ Trump channels them utterly but he doesn’t even love them. He wants US… and he can’t have us.
This is on the level of a Ta Nehisi Coates and it was simply her statement on a panel. I have her book now but my wife gets to read it first.