President Trump raised a few eyebrows earlier this week when he criticized tweets by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) suggesting that American politicians who support Israel were primarily motivated by money.
Omar shot back on Twitter, implying that she wasn’t the one with deep-seated issues.
“You have trafficked in hate your whole life—against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous, immigrants, black people and more,” she replied. “I learned from people impacted by my words. When will you?”
This line of argument -- that Trump had little space to criticize her -- was echoed broadly. In 2015, for example, Trump had appeared at a forum hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition where he said, “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.” They wouldn’t give to him, he said, because "[y]ou want to control your own politician.”
At another point in the 2016 election, he tweeted an image of his opponent Hillary Clinton over a background of dollar bills, with the words “most corrupt candidate ever” displayed in a six-pointed star. That image had originated with a Twitter user with a history of sharing anti-Semitic material.
This, many asked, was the person criticizing Omar?
To some extent, Trump benefits from the sheer volume of controversial comments he’s made. To Omar’s point, Trump’s been criticized repeatedly for his comments about people of color and other minority groups. This has worked to his benefit, oddly, allowing controversial comments to blend into the background noise of his administration. But he and his supporters have also worked to minimize his comments -- as when Trump insisted that the six-pointed star was simply meant to be a sheriff’s badge.
Racially and culturally offensive comments are often subjective, allowing for some interpretation and, if desired, downplaying of what was said. With that in mind, we decided to let our readers weigh in on some of Trump’s controversial past comments. Are these things that are clearly racially or culturally offensive? Or have they most been blown out of proportion?
For each comment or incident, select where it falls on the low-to-high scale of offensiveness. (If you’re not familiar with the incident, a link is provided.) Drag the slider; once you stop, your opinion will be recorded and you can see how other readers felt about the same comments. And remember: It’s a scale. Not everything falls at one end or the other.
We’ll start with Trump’s comments in 2015.
To a group of Jewish leaders: “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money. You want to control your politicians, that’s fine.”
In early 2017, Trump reportedly described African and Caribbean countries as “s---holes.”
Trump regularly refers to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as “Pocahontas.”
In a tweet last weekend, Trump seemed to make reference to the Trail of Tears when disparaging Warren.
Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore? See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
In 1989, Trump called for a reinstatement of the death penalty in New York after a group of black and Latino teenagers were arrested for a violent rape. They were later exonerated.
During the campaign, despite that exoneration, Trump still insisted that they were guilty.
During his campaign launch, Trump declared that “[w]hen Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump has regularly referred to members of the gang MS-13 as “animals” as he links them to immigrant communities.
Trump has in the past repeatedly referred to women with whom he’s disagreed as “dogs” and, during the campaign, disparaged his primary opponent Carly Fiorina’s looks.
Trump at one point reportedly said that immigrants from Haiti all “have AIDS” and that migrants from Nigeria would never “go back to their huts” once they came to the U.S.
Trump repeatedly questioned the impartiality of a judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University by noting the judge’s Mexican heritage.
Trump called for a complete ban on Muslim migration to the U.S. and then worked to implement a ban on travel from mostly Muslim countries.
Trump repeatedly questioned if former president Barack Obama was born in the U.S. and then questioned his academic credentials.
During the campaign, Trump retweeted an image suggesting falsely, in a list of statistics, that most white murder victims were killed by black people.
Since his inauguration, Trump has frequently -- but not exclusively -- singled out black people when describing those with whom he disagrees as stupid.
After a woman was killed in Charlottesville while demonstrating in opposition to a rally featuring overt racism and white nationalism, Trump said that there was “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” and later added that there were “some very fine people” rallying with the white nationalists.
After Trump was criticized during the Democratic convention in 2016 by the parents of a Muslim man killed in action in Iraq, Trump suggested that the mother’s silence was perhaps because “she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
In a 1991 book that Trump said in a later interview was “probably true,” Trump was described as disparaging the accountants at one of his casinos.
“The only guys I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes all day,” he reportedly said. The black accountant, he said, was lazy, but it was “probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks.”
During a campaign stop in 2016, Trump offered an unusual pitch to black voters.
“You live in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed,” he said. “What the hell do you have to lose?”
As you’ve made your selections above, you’ve changed the overall ratings for each comment. Below are the comments that readers have decided are the most offensive.
Given that list, it’s not surprising that Trump’s finger-wagging at others for offensive comments might be received with some skepticism.