Merriam Webster’s thumbnail definition of “whataboutism” cites it as “a rhetorical device that involves accusing others of offenses as a way of deflecting attention from one’s own deeds.’’
The tactic was developed by the Soviet Union, but is seeing more attention as it is frequently used by the Trump administration.
Alan Webber’s commentary (Aug. 6 edition of the Daily Journal) was more of a defense of Trump than an insightful critique on the use of the race card. In defense of his claim that “Trump is not a racist — he never was considered racist until he was elected president.” the commentary provided an abundance of whataboutisms, including but not limited to, the Mueller probe, Chicago corruption, Baltimore rodents, other major cities’ problems, Al Sharpton’s tax issues, and his ever-ready issues with the media, Obama and the Clintons.
The claim that “Trump is not a racist” doesn’t hold water when one considers that Trump’s foray into the political arena began with his claim that Obama was not born in America and that he was a Muslim. Furthermore, the claim is an epic fail considering the volume overload of divisive rhetoric Trump uses in disparaging people for their geographical locations, ethnicity and religions, etc.
As for the claim that Trump “... never was considered a racist until he was elected president” consider the following: John O’Donnell, a former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, and author of the book Trumped: The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump wrote that Trump told him “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys wearing yarmulkes… Those are the only kind of people I want counting my money. Nobody else…Besides that, I tell you something else. I think that guy’s lazy. And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks,” When asked about his comment during an interview Trump confirmed that “the stuff” O’Donnell wrote about him were “probably true.”
Hateful rhetoric is dividing us, and while we are still processing the tragic domestic terrorism that took place in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas this past weekend and the causation of such, we need to stop with the whataboutisms and honesty identify the problems divisive rhetoric creates and who is truly responsible for it.