Doing my small part to promote this quote from over the weekend in hopes that Trump will begin flaming Geraldo on Twitter. Because if Trump starts flaming him, you know he’s going to bring up the Al Capone’s vault episode, as most of Trump’s cultural reference points seem to date to the 1980s or earlier.
And I think it’d be amazing if We As A People spent a day or two dunking on Geraldo for that again.
Anyway, Rivera’s off the Trump train — I think, although I’m not sure. Usually, concluding that a politician is racist necessarily leads to “and therefore I can no longer in good conscience support him,” but the last four years in Republican politics have been one long exercise day by day of justifying why the latest obnoxious Trump behavior simply isn’t disqualifying. Odds are at least fair that Geraldo will end up deciding that racism is tolerable in a president so long as it manifests only in fleeting moments, not as a pattern.
If not, if he really does go blue, I don’t know how he’ll exist comfortably at Fox.
For some who defended Mr. Trump against charges of racism in the past, this was a turning point. “As much as I have denied it and averted my eyes from it, this latest incident made it impossible,” Geraldo Rivera, a roaming correspondent at large for Fox News and longtime friend, said in an interview.
“My friendship with the president has cost me friendships, it has cost me schisms in the family, my wife and I are constantly at odds about the president,” he added. “I do insist that he’s been treated unfairly. But the unmistakable words, the literal words he said, is an indication that the critics were much more right than I.”
He’s not the only Trump crony to use the R-word this past week, interestingly:
Would @realDonaldTrump ever tell a white immigrant – whether 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th+ generation – to “go back to your country”? No. That’s why the comments were racist and unacceptable.
America is a nation of immigrants founded on the ideals of free thought and free speech. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 16, 2019
Scaramucci’s already begun to pay a price for that in Republican circles. We’ll see if Geraldo’s Fox appearances start getting more sparse in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, lefty Peter Beinart argues that righties’ racism detectors tend to be more finely tuned when they’re listening to left-wingers chatter about race than when they’re listening to the president:
At the same time that Trump was denying charges of bigotry, however, he was also leveling them. At the North Carolina rally, he accused Omar of “vicious anti-Semitic” remarks—a reference to her tweet that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s influence in Washington is “all about the Benjamins” and her allegation that pro-Israel groups “push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Those comments—which evoked hoary stereotypes of Jews as money-driven and disloyal—elicited criticism even from Democrats, and Omar apologized for the first. But however damning one considers her statements, it’s utterly illogical to claim that they constitute bigotry while Trump’s far more direct attack does not. Yet this is exactly what Trump and other prominent Republicans are doing.
When Democrats are accused of prejudice against Jews, Republicans can find it easy to discern ugly coded language. But when Trump and others in his party are accused of hostility to black people, Muslims, and Latinos, prominent conservatives set the standard for what constitutes bigotry so high that it’s almost impossible to meet.
But it goes both ways. True, Omar took some heat from pro-Israel Democrats in the House caucus. But in the end a progressive revolt pressured Pelosi into excising Omar’s name from the House resolution that followed her “dual loyalty” comments about American supporters of Israel. She didn’t lose any committee assignments. As far as I can tell, she hasn’t lost a bit of support in progressive circles. If anything, thanks to Trump’s “go back where you came from” tweets, she’s a cause celebre of the left despite — or because of? — the Jew-baiting she sporadically engages in when criticizing AIPAC’s “Benjamins” or whatever. She and Trump have that much in common, at least: The “dog whistles” they’re blowing are loud enough that they’re really just … whistles, with canine ears not required to detect them, and supporters don’t care. What could we even begin to say about the woke brigades’ longstanding tolerance of/admiration for Louis Farrakhan, who for decades has been using a bullhorn for his anti-semitism more so than a whistle?
Here’s Geraldo on Friday sparring with Pete Hegseth, who by the end of the clip is reduced to claiming that Trump never said who specifically should go back to their home countries as a way of letting the president off the hook. According to Mike Pence, if the “send her back” chanting starts up again at another rally, the president “might make an effort to speak out about it.” That’s the sound of deep conviction there, Mike. It “might” also be the case by fall that Trump will be leading the chants himself.