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Trump’s Presidency Is Reaping What His White Grievance Politics Sowed

Donald Trump has not had a great year. It started with an impeachment trial, then a pandemic, and now widespread demonstrations against police brutality toward Black Americans. But hardly anyone protested outside the White House until this week.

The president himself had no direct involvement with the murder of George Floyd, but it makes sense that Black Lives Matter protests would surge under Trump’s watch.

He founded his political career on white identity politics, with his 1989 call for the execution of the Central Park Five, his questioning of President Barack Obama ’s birthplace, his frequent invocation of “law and order,” his 2017 claim there were “very fine people” among white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, and of course, his constant attacks on immigrants.

The Black Lives Matter movement, sparked by police murdering Black people, predates Trump’s presidency by several years, but the president personifies the kind of systemic racism the movement has always decried.

“He’s just shown blatantly over and over again that he’s a racist,” said Ashley Ezekieva, a 23-year-old protesting outside the White House on Thursday evening. “From Obama to the Central Park Five, he’s shown over and over again that he does not like Black or brown people.”

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