Editorial roundup

The Providence Journal (R.I.), July 16

Donald Trump’s deplorable screed against Mexican immigrants (he called them rapists and drug-dealers in his presidential announcement last month) has dealt a blow to his not inconsiderable business empire. Indeed, blue chip brands are severing ties with the real estate magnate at a rapid clip. Department store chain Macy’s will no longer carry Trump’s brand of ties; the PGA will stop hosting tournaments at a golf course he owns; and the Spanish language television network Univision announced it would not air the Trump-owned Miss USA pageant.

Perhaps the biggest blow that Trump has suffered was NBC’s announcement that it would sever ties with the GOP candidate. That means NBC too will not air either the Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants, and Trump will never return to “The Apprentice.”

Certainly these businesses are well within their rights. Why would respected brands want to associate themselves with a man who has painted virtually all undocumented immigrants from Mexico as criminals?

And yet, in NBC’s case at least, there is more than a hint of hypocrisy. The same network that dumped Trump still employs Al Sharpton, who hosts a daily program on MSNBC, the Peacock Network’s 24-hour cable news station.

Sharpton has a far more florid history of making racist and bigoted remarks than does Trump. He’s talked variously of “Chinamen,” ”white interlopers” and “Greek homos,” who stole civilization from Africa. And the reverend has a long history of anti-Semitism, playing a central role in the 1991 Crown Heights Riot (essentially a modern-day pogrom), which killed two. Later, he talked in coded language of “diamond merchants.”

Nor has Sharpton particularly cleaned up his act in recent years. Last year, an exhaustive New York Times investigation found that “Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills.” As of last November, there were more than $4.5 million in federal and state tax liens against Sharpton and his businesses, the Times reported. In other words, Sharpton continues to fail to live up to the basic obligations of American citizenship. Yet there he is, rewarded by NBC with a daily television program — and, incidentally, frequently invited to the White House.

Anyone can say the wrong thing at times. But it seems to us that demagogic ethnic slurs by people playing politics are unacceptable no matter who utters them.

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