This weekend, President Donald Trump’s wrath was far-flung. From environmental laws to the press to China, all the usual suspects took heat. But upon closer inspection of his Twitter outrage, three of his insults highlight the President’s insidious tendency to specifically attack the intelligence of black critics he doesn’t like.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In one late night Friday tweet, Trump insulted both basketball legend LeBron James and CNN host Don Lemon.
Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2018
The tweet was a reaction to James’ interview with Lemon on Monday (re-aired on Friday) about the athlete’s new school, during which James said he would “never sit across from Trump,” adding that he would “sit across from Barack (Obama) though.”
Along with the new, incendiary insults, Trump also leaned on one of his old favorites during a rally in Ohio on Saturday, calling Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) “a seriously low IQ person.”
The comments sparked a retaliatory firestorm, with many calling out the racism of Trump’s words.
From a senior fellow of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center think tank, who served in three Republican administrations:
Trump’s made the same criticism of black athletes, black journalists & black Members of Congress. He attacks their intelligence. His racist appeals aren’t even disguised anymore. The closest figure in modern national politics to Trump? George Wallace. Trump now defines the GOP.
— Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner) August 4, 2018
From a sports journalist at ESPN:
There’s a lot of insults the president could have hurled at LeBron and Don Lemon, but it says something that the president openly questioned their intelligence. Gee, wonder why.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 4, 2018
From an NBA player:
I’ve been silent about ALL of the DUMB stuff this man has tweeted but THIS is attacking the NBA brotherhood and I’m not rollin’! What an embarrassment… https://t.co/zHjgokig8R
— Anthony Tolliver (@ATolliver44) August 4, 2018
Even some of Trump’s allies distanced themselves from his comments.
“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation,” said first lady Melania Trump through her spokeswoman, adding that she would be open to visiting James’ new school.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) took on Trump’s age-old insult of Rep. Waters, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday that “And, you know, a lot of things, for instance, you could say about Maxine Waters, but to indicate she’s not a bright person is not one of them. She is very smart and very calculating.”
He added that the GOP is “not anti-black.”