Donald Trump is Using the Language of Race War

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.

President Trump spent more than 75 minutes on Tuesday night doing what he clearly relishes the most: fanning the flames of white America’s racial animus while surrounded by a crowd of his supporters.


Although Trump spewed lie after lie about everything from the border and CNN’s ratings to defense spending and his sluggish response to Charlottesville, it’s worth a closer look at the actual language he used.

“They’re trying to take away our culture. They are trying to take away our history,” Trump told the crowd about the recent trend of removing Jim Crow-era statues honoring pro-slavery crusaders. “This is our moment.”


The president is talking about everyone who opposes him on removing the statues, which he’s called “beautiful,” being at odds with him and his backers—the “them” vs. his “us.” And what history is he referring to? White Americans’ legacy of enslaving black people, and then intimidating their ancestors in their battle for civil rights by erecting statues to remind them they were once in chains?

Later on in the campaign rally, Trump declared, “We will recapture our dynasty.”

It’s similar to the language frequently used by Trump’s most ardent white supremacist supporters. After the march in Charlottesville, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke said: “We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump...That’s what we believed in, that’s why we voted for Donald Trump. Because he said he’s going to take our country back.”


When the president says “our,” it’s worth ruminating on who exactly he’s talking about—and who he’s not.


  • Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are locked in a “cold war,” which was crystallized by Trump blaming McConnell for failing to get a bill to repeal Obamacare passed in a profanity-laced phone call earlier this month, according to The New York Times.
  • In the first public glimpse of her new post-election book What Happened, Hillary Clinton wrote that her “skin crawled” when Trump stood behind her during their second presidential debate. In the excerpt, which was first shown on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Clinton also said about the stakes of the race: “Every day I was a candidate for president, I knew that millions of people were counting on me. And I couldn’t bear the idea of letting them down. But I did. I couldn’t get the job done. And I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
  • The company that owns the Dakota Access pipeline is suing Greenpeace and other environmental groups for their role in protesting the oil pipeline’s construction, accusing their actions of amounting to “eco-terrorism.”