I’m going to begin this entry by assuming most of you are big David Spade fans, which is why you’ll love it when I recount this old SNL monologue of his. Long story short, he did a funny bit about crazy people who get too close to animals in zoos from the point of view of some polar bears who are trying to egg a stoned guy into crawling into the enclosure with them. It ends with the polar bears saying delightedly to each other “OMG! HE’S DOING IT!” Why am I telling you about this? Because Victor Davis Hanson is stoned on racism and Isaac Chotiner is a polar bear.
You don’t. You don’t. I was trying to look at Trump in classical terms, so words like eirôneia, or irony—how could it be that the Republican Party supposedly was empathetic, but a millionaire, a billionaire Manhattanite started using terms I had never heard Romney or McCain or Paul Ryan say? He started saying “our.” Our miners. And then, on the left, every time Hillary Clinton went before a Southern audience, she started speaking in a Southern accent. And Barack Obama, I think you would agree, when he gets before an inner-city audience, he suddenly sounded as if he spoke in a black patois. When Trump went to any of these groups, he had the same tie, the same suit, the same accent. What people thought was that, whatever he is, he is authentic.
Race has been a big part of Trump’s Presidency. There is not a lot of that in your book. The index contains an entry for “blacks,” which just says, when you turn to the page, that “African-Americans increasingly began to control big-city governments.” But there wasn’t a larger discussion of race. Where do you think Trump stands on racial issues?
When I wrote the book, I was interested, so I actually looked at things. I read a great deal about the Mar-a-Lago project, and I was shocked that the people who opposed that on cultural and social grounds were largely anti-Semitic. Trump had already announced that he was not going to discriminate against Jews and Mexicans and other people. He said, “I want wealthy people.” I went to Palm Beach and talked to wealthy Jewish donors and Cubans, and they said the same thing to me—“He likes rich people. He doesn’t care what you look like.”
He’s doing it!