With the World On Fire, Trump Hosts Kanye West Minstrel Show

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White House photo.

ne thing I’ve learned about President Donald Trump, after almost three years of writing about him, is that while he’s clueless about how to run the country, he knows how to manipulate the media. Trump’s not above creating a scandal, to distract from an even bigger scandal.

Schooled by years of dealing with the New York press, he understands the excitable media often focuses on the newest shiny object. And he also knows the shallow American public rarely look deeply into issues. That’s why his cult-like followers repeat idiotic phrases like “lock her up,” in reference to Hillary Clinton and Sen. Diane Feinstein. This when at least five people connected to the Trump campaign have already been convicted!

Additionally, Trump is a sociopath, a point made by mental health experts and Trump biographer David Cay Johnston. He’ll do anything to better his image or fortunes, including exploiting a mentally-ill person, such as Kanye West.

I tried to avoid the rapper’s rambling White House speech yesterday. But it was everywhere, both on TV and online. The only way you could have avoided it was by locking yourself in a darkened closet and wearing headphones.

I’ve written about Kanye before, and I was loath to do it again. West is obviously suffering from mental problems, and combined with the fact that he proudly admits he doesn’t read, he’s the worst person to discuss serious policy issues. He even described himself as a “crazy motherf**ker.”

If Trump was serious about prison reform, he could have talked to Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow.” to discuss the long-term effects of mass incarceration. But no, he met with a barely-coherent rapper, who probably last read a book when he was in high school.

West’s White House performance looked like some kind of ghoulish minstrel show where Trump invited white people to laugh at an ignorant black man. And West was so wrapped up in himself, he couldn’t see he was the butt of the joke. As I said on social media, those people were laughing at him, not with him.

It was also a huge distraction from real issues. Ian Masters, host of “Background Briefing,” often says that Trump is operating a “stunt presidency,” much like his mentor Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Instead of actually governing, he creates telegenic events, which don’t achieve anything. This includes being pictured with stacks of blank paper, that was supposed to represent government red tape he’d cut, throwing paper towels at hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico, and meeting with black pastors and West to claim that his support among African Americans is rising.

As CNN’s Don Lemon pointed out in a lengthy rant there were plenty of real issues Trump should have been dealing with such as the Florida hurricane or the apparent death of Saudia Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident. But instead, he opted for a reality show-like event.

According to Lemon, Trump exploited West’s mental instability.

“I had to turn the television off because it was so hard to watch,” said Lemon. “Him (Kanye,) sitting there, being used by the president of the United States.”

Conservative commentator S.E. Cupp agreed with Lemon.

“I think you had there a man who’s clearly not okay, and a president who’s willing to exploit that. And worse, to exploit that under the auspices of race relations,” she said.

In another particularly pointed commentary, Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson begged West to “read a book.” He also said West was been used as a puppet for white nationalism.

“This is white supremacy by ventriloquism,” said Dyson on MSNBC.

We shouldn’t have been surprised by Trump’s latest diversion. He’s already made fun of a physically-challenged person, so why wouldn’t he use a mentally-ill black person to try to distract from the fact that he’s a terrible president?

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Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

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