Donald Trump will be remembered as a president who embraced racist views and divisiveness. Although the nation is dealing with important issues such as immigration rights, Russian collusion, and an affordable housing crisis, Trump took time this week to racially disparage two prominent figures in the Black community.
On Aug. 3, Trump tweeted, “LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
A racially charged tweet of that nature should be beneath the person who occupies the Oval Office. But as we all have discovered, the low bar for this president could be beneath the surface of the Earth.
Trump hurls insults when he is challenged. He calls news “fake” when reporters give facts about his mischievous ways. He does everything in his power to disrupt and seek attention.
But Trump knows that he’s at a disadvantage even with having a privileged advantage all of his life. As a youth, Trump was never the smartest guy in school, but his wealthy father, Frederick Trump, served on the board at the exclusive Kew-Forest School in New York, which allowed him to attend. Donald Trump was eventually forced out due to bad grades and behavior. He later got into the prestigious Wharton School of Business primarily because his older brother was a former classmate of an admissions officer, according to The Washington Post. And when Trump finished school, his father handed him $1 million to get started in the real estate business in the early 1970s. This is a guy who has had tremendous help on his side his entire life.
LeBron James, on the other hand, never had such help as a youth. He grew up poor and without a father. He missed hundreds of days in school due to his mother constantly moving. He often went to sleep hungry at night when his mother could not find steady employment.
James’ saving grace was basketball, but he’s much more than a basketball player. In 2016, he pledged $41 million in college scholarships for students in need. And in the first week of August, James opened the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, which allows students from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend school for free, eat free breakfast and lunch and receive free bikes. It also provides a food pantry and job training for parents.
On the other hand, Trump’s Trump University was forced to shut down after students were basically robbed of their money and a chance at an education. Moreover, Trump funneled money he received for kids with cancer into his businesses and to pay legal bills.
The Washington Post discovered that from 2006 until 2016 — the year Trump ran for president — he had only given $800,000 to charities over the span of a decade. That’s pathetic for a man who, according to Bloomberg News, is worth $2.8 billion.
When it comes to family life, James has been married to his high school sweetheart, Savannah, since 2013 and has never had a major scandal. Trump has been married three times, has been accused of sexual assault multiple times, and is currently embroiled in several scandals, involving him paying off a porn star and a Playboy model who he had sexual relationships with while married.
If Barack Obama provided the hope of what America can be, Trump represents the ugliness of the history of the United States. Trump is the physical embodiment of a nation that allowed slavery to be legal; Jim Crow laws to exist; lynchings of Blacks to remain unsolved; legal segregation; and mass incarceration.
Trump’s greatest achievement, becoming president, came with him receiving 3 million fewer votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Like most of his life, Trump’s success has often depended on a technicality. But everything that LeBron James has earned on and off the court has come through hard work.
Trump remains attached to his insecurities as if they were a body part. And even as president, Trump knows that there is nothing that he can do in life that would allow him to match the overall success of a Black man who made it through dire circumstances by doing more than dribbling a basketball.