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Opinion

Who cares if Trump doesn’t mean to be racist? What a president says is important

Trump
President Trump speaks to reporters outside the White House on July 24.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: Jonah Goldberg quite rightly does not excuse President Trump’s racist statements. Goldberg suggests that Trump’s appalling ignorance on virtually any subject explains, but does not excuse his disturbing statements.

Much like a child who wanders too close to a cliff’s edge or into a busy street, it may not be the president’s fault that ignorance prevents him from being cautious. However, Goldberg needs to take the next step and acknowledge that we depend upon the child’s parents and other adults to be responsible, and to keep that child from causing harm.

Unless we conclude that the Republicans in Congress are equally bereft of any intellectual curiosity and, therefore, subject to the same ignorance explanation, we are left to conclude that they just don’t care. In any other circumstance we would judge that to be child endangerment.

Unfortunately, in this case this child has the frightening capability to take the rest of us over the cliff with him.

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Fred W. Burkardt, Rancho Cucamonga

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To the editor: Whether Trump means what he tweets depends on many variables, such as his demagogic motives and his intended audience. The one constant is that he contrives tweets to manipulate targeted members of the electorate.

When Trump tweeted that four minority congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” he surely didn’t intend to prod any of those lawmakers to leave the U.S. He merely wanted to fire up his nationalistic base with a Trumpified take on the timeworn “America, love it or leave it” taunt.

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Trump’s tweets defy reasoned analysis. Why bother trying to make sense of a narcissist’s stream-of-consciousness statements directed at his gullible supporters?

Devra Mindell, Santa Monica

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To the editor: Goldberg writes that Trump did not intend for his tweets directed against four Democratic members of Congress, all women of color, to be racist, because he “often doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and not just on matters of race.”

He supports this assertion with several examples of Trump’s misstatements of fact on various domestic and international matters. This explanation makes me feel no better.

In other words, Goldberg tells us that we have a president who is so ignorant of history and social context that he cannot be expected to make informed decisions or anticipate how the public will perceive his choice of words. Lord save us.

Robert J. Switzer, West Hollywood


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