I really do believe that if you’re a Somali refugee who likes Trump, he’s not going to say ‘go back to Somalia.’ A racist says go back to Somalia because you’re a Somalian or you’re a Muslim or whatever, that’s just the way he is. More narcissism than anything else.
Graham’s insight, shared on Twitter Wednesday by producers for both NBC and Fox News, was ostensibly intended to be a defense of the president, after Trump’s deeply racist attacks on the so-called “Squad” this week.
Graham is telling an obvious truth about Trump, which is that possibly the only force stronger than the president’s love of bigotry is his pathological need for praise. Race (and sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion) has always been a token for Trump, through which he both is able to lump people into broad groups based on his own lazy stereotypes, while at the same time hold them up as exemplars of his own sense of self-worth. Every time Trump rattles off minority employment numbers it’s solely to make the point that he should be lauded.
But my god is that beside the point, and Graham’s attempt to repackage Trump’s obvious, virulent racism as merely a product of his self-love is both pathetic and disturbing. He is lying through his teeth when he says Trump isn’t racist—he most definitely is. Is he a narcissist too? Absolutely! Are they as mutually exclusive as Graham would have us believe? C’mon.