Stop asking if Trump is sincere

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Column by Dylan Doyle, contributing writer

Experiment with me, okay? Ask someone you know the following question: do you believe what President Donald Trump says?

You can imagine what the answer will be, given Gallup polls suggest up to 60% of Americans disapprove of their president. But grab your friend by the ear one more time and ask them this: does Trump believe what Trump says?

Entire volumes have been written about the fractured psyche of our nation’s current leader, but lately, pundits on both sides of the aisle are fascinated with these questions. Does Trump really hate immigrants, or is he simply pantomiming xenophobia for political points? Is Trump really a racist, or is he just appealing to his racist voter base?

In short: is our president a liar or is he delusional?

It is readily apparent that he must be one or the other, considering how many falsehoods have been attributed to him by reputable fact-checking organizations since he stepped onto that gaudy, golden escalator and announced his candidacy for president in 2015. Even his supporters are starting to admit that their leader stretches the truth – as one particularly unpleasant fellow said in my Twitter mentions recently… all politicians tell lies! At least Trump has the decency to be honest about his lying!

Set aside the fact that these are the same people who were calling for Hillary Clinton to be executed by firing squad for dishonesty. It seems deceit is only a capital offense when the liar in question is a woman.

This situation has come to a rolling boil with Trump’s announcement that his administration will be killing former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, leaving hundreds of thousands of undocumented Americans without a legal leg to stand on. Major media networks, newspapers and social media creators alike were quick to strike up a conversation about Trump’s motives.

Is this a product of racial animus lurking in his subconscious? Or is he simply trying to protect the jobs of legal Americans being snatched up by all of these invaders?

The problem is these questions are not productive because it does not make any bit of functional difference if Trump hates immigrants deep down in his heart of hearts. It does not matter if Trump is a white supremacist. He is hurting immigrants and fawning over slave owners on Twitter.

Personally, I do not think Trump actually believes people of color are inferior to white people. If we cracked open his brain and examined the contents, I am sure we would find that he simply believes every other person is inferior to himself. However, claiming that Trump’s policies are not actually racist because he is not personally a racist is making a distinction without difference.

To paraphrase the great Maya Angelou, you should believe people when they show you who they are. But with political leaders, talk is cheap. Interior motivations matter far less than tangible policy decisions that adversely affect real human beings living in our nation.

Even so, the adage holds true: if it walks like a white supremacist and talks like a white supremacist, it’s probably a white supremacist.