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Trump’s Rhetoric Is Harsher Toward Critics Who Aren’t White [Analysis]

Trump’s Rhetoric Is Harsher Toward Critics Who Aren’t White [Analysis]

An analysis of President Donald Trump’s recent tweets to his critics — some who are people of color, others who are white — demonstrates that the chief executive definitely takes a harsher tone toward certain groups of people.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Trump last week tweeted out that House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) was neglecting his home district, which includes Baltimore and some suburban communities. Trump called the majority-black city as a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” the BBC reported.

Trump added that “no human being would want to live there” in a subsequent tweet. He piled on more criticisms of the district, tweeting or retweeting at least a dozen more harshly-worded criticisms toward Cummings after his initial line of attack.


A CNN Business analysis of Trump’s criticisms indicated that the president received his information not from a briefing or investigative report from within his administration, but from a highly charged and distorted report that aired on Fox News minutes before he tweeted out his own thoughts.

Cummings heads the Oversight Committee, which is investigating Trump and his administration on several fronts. Another lawmaker, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York), who heads the Judiciary Committee, is also leading an investigation on Trump. However, Trump’s attacks on Nadler, though still existent, are far less severe than they were on Cummings.

On the same day that Trump attacked Baltimore and Cummings, he also tweeted out about Nadler, criticizing the lawmaker over the continued investigation over Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice during the Russia investigation. Notably, Trump doesn’t attack Nadler for his constituency, which is based in New York City, Trump’s hometown.


Trump in recent weeks has also made incendiary attacks on four congresswomen of color. He told the lawmakers in a series of tweets beginning a couple of weekends ago that they should “go back” to their countries of origin and fix those places before criticizing aspects of American society they said needed correcting.

Of the four women, three were born in the United States. The fourth, Rep. Ilhan Omar, has been a U.S. citizen longer than Trump’s wife, Melania Trump, has been. The term “go back” to one’s own country is a noted racist trope that has been used for centuries in the U.S.

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Contrast his attacks toward those women to what Trump has said toward Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Although Trump is an ardent critic of hers as well, his attacks have not gone to the extent that they did for those four congresswomen of color.

Trump did, over the weekend, describe Pelosi’s district as “not even recognizeable [sic] lately.” But that’s a far cry from what he’s said of Cummings’s district or what he’s said about the four congresswomen.


Overall, Trump seems to have a consistent line of attack toward those who are critical of his administration. But it seems as though his criticisms take on a more sinister feel when they involve individuals who do not have a white complexion.

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