On Tuesday, Donald Trump—once known for his famous catchphrase “You’re fired!”—has officially been crowned the Republican nominee for the 2016 presidential race. Considering the “Make America great again” rhetoric that emanated across this country, this came as no surprise (despite the most clear discord since the 1970s). What has also come as no surprise is just how terrible the Republican National Convention is this year.
In case anyone has missed the obvious, very few black people are in attendance, including black Republicans who have found themselves growing distant from their own party. And who could blame them?
This distancing became even clearer when the convention began with a moment of silence honoring the three police officers killed in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday. RNC Chairman Reince Preibus indicated that because of these shootings, America was in “troubling times.” He said this after making no mention of the black lives lost in recent days, and weeks and months and years, at the hands of these same police officers. Because America.
But believe it or not, this hasn’t been the most terrifying RNC moment. So from Sheriff David Clark to Melania Trump to Scott Baio, we ask the question: What are the RNC’s worst moments so far?
1. Melania Trump and the “Columbusing” of Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech.
Melania Trump, wife of the Republican presidential nominee, wanted to recite the speech of her dreams late Monday night. She wanted to energize the 99.2 percent white audience by getting them to support her husband. Instead she became an overnight sensation by reciting the speech of first lady Michelle Obama’s dreams—one that was given in 2008 in Denver. Journalist Jarrett Hill was the first to discover that Melania’s speech had plagiarized an entire paragraph from the first lady’s, which became even clearer with her “word is bond” reference.
True to form, black Twitter took to the internet streets by creating #FamousMelaniaTrumpQuotes in order to call out the consistency, known as America, of a white person stealing from black people and calling it their own. Whether the Slovenian model is to blame or her speechwriter, one thing is clear: The internet exists, and the RNC will continue to show why it isn’t in a position to be selecting anyone’s president, no less our own.
If Sheriff David Clarke is going for a record for the most times a black person can publicly disavow other black people, perhaps Guinness should give him a call now.
“I want to make something clear,” Clark stated. “Blue Lives Matter in America!” On Monday, Clarke received a standing ovation after celebrating the acquittal of Lt. Brian Rice, one of the officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray in 2015.
We often hear Martin Luther King Jr. used out of context. And Clarke, a black man speaking in front of an entire white crowd, couldn’t wait to do so. Clarke even said that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is “anarchy” and turns peaceful protest into violence.
If you didn’t think the 2016 RNC could get any worse, you may have missed Ben Carson—former Republican presidential hopeful and retired neurosurgeon—speak at the convention Tuesday.
After getting the raucous crowd on their feet talking about “In God we trust,” he continued, “So are we willing to elect someone as president who has as their role model someone who acknowledges Lucifer?” Carson asked the audience.
“No!” was the abrupt response.
Carson was referencing Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals, and the subject of a young Hillary Rodham's undergraduate thesis at Wellesley College. Alinsky wrote this:
Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins—or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.
Still, Alinsky was known as a radical writer and organizer, not as a Satan worshipper. And conservatives frequently linked the legendary, South Side Chicago activist to President Barack Obama in an effort to prove that Obama was too "radical"—i.e., black—for the White House.
For his next trick, Carson is going to tell schoolchildren to turn off all the lights in the bathroom, look into the mirror and say "Hillary Clinton" three times for evil to be unleashed on the world.
Many may have missed the Iowa politician’s statements because they weren’t part of the official RNC speech format, but they were just as terrifying as many of the speeches over the past two days, if not more so.
On MSNBC’s All in With Chris Hayes, King started his overtly racist comments with “this ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired” before eventually wondering what “subgroups” besides whites have made contributions to civilization.
Perhaps King never heard of the history of Native Americans or of black people.
And, the most recent alarming moment of the RNC, was when Rudolph Giuliani—the former New York City mayor—talked or, better yet, screamed as if it were a World Wresting Entertainment audition.
Giuliani made one promise to the American people: “What I did for New York City, Donald Trump will do for America.” But that’s precisely the point that makes many of us so worried.
It’s clear that this year’s RNC, probably unlike many before, is full of angry people who feel that they have been wronged, even though marginalized communities are only demanding equitable treatment by law enforcement and government agencies. But if there is anything that I am learning from watching #RNCinCLE, it is that we are in for a rude awakening over what’s left to come after the convention.