Donald Trump has called grieving widow Myeshia Johnson a liar. He has also called Rep. Frederica Wilson “wacky,” or code for crazy. And he accused former National Security Advisor Susan Rice of breaking the law.
Besides being Black women, these women also represent those who have spoken out vociferously against the president’s lies and transgressions. But by relying on tired stereotypes about Black women, Trump hopes to wag the dog, or change the conversation and distract attention away from his failing administration. And these attacks are like throwing red meat to his rabid constituents, including people like ex-Republican Illinois congressman Joe Walsh.
In the latest example, Trump attacked Johnson, the pregnant widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in Niger this month. The grief-stricken mother of two on Monday appeared on Good Morning America, where she said the president’s lack of compassion and the fact that he forgot her husband’s name made her cry more, prompting Trump to imply she was lying.
But political commentators and activists like Angela Rye, are not letting Trump and his constituents get away their attacks. During an appearance Monday on CNN with Don Lemon, Rye noted that Trump has an “issue with strong, Black women.”
“If it’s not congresswoman Frederica Wilson, it’s congresswoman Maxine Waters,” Rye said. “If it’s not Maxine Waters, it’s Susan Rice. If it’s not Susan Rice, it’s Jemele Hill from ESPN. He has an issue with strong Black women. If it’s not an issue with a strong Black woman, he has an issue with a strong Black man. There is a clear pattern and practice of his bullying behavior, and it starts with Black women.”
He attacked Wilson after she publicized details about his phone call to Johnson, calling her “wacky,” or crazy, and prompting White House chief of staff John Kelly to call Wilson “empty barrel.” But their attempts to discredit Wilson are failing. The Congressional Black Caucus has called on the Trump administration to apologize to the Florida congresswoman.
Indeed, White men—except for Sen. Bob Corker—who speak out against Trump rarely face backlash, leaving little doubt that his attacks on Black men and women are racially motivated. This behavior cannot stand and it’s time for Congress to do something about it instead standing around allowing Trump to wag the dog.