Ta-Nehisi Coates: White Supremacy is The Core of Trump’s Presidency

Coates, a decorated author, calls Trump “the first white president.”

September 8, 2017 9:28 am
Obama Trump
President Barack Obama shakes hands with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In the October issue of The Atlantic, the magazine’s national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates shares a powerful essay from his forthcoming book, “We Were Eight Years in Power.”

In it, he discusses the politics of race, arguing that President Trump not only got to the White House because of his race, but founded his politics in the ideology of white supremacy—starting with his public support for the “birther theory” that former President Obama was not actually born in the United States.

“It is often said that Trump has no real ideology, which is not true—his ideology is white supremacy, in all its truculent and sanctimonious power,” Coates writes. “Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president.”

Coates argues that this fact makes Trump different than the presidents who have come before him. “It will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.”

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