Univision anchor Jorge Ramos pointed out that Donald Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio is part of a pattern of racist behavior, and an attempt to make racism "okay in this country."
In sharp commentary, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos connected Donald Trump's decision to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio to his praise of white supremacists.
As Ramos put it succinctly, with his actions over recent weeks, "Trump is making racism something normal."
Trump chose to announce the pardon of Arpaio, who was convicted of racially profiling Latinos, right as Hurricane Harvey approached Texas. He was widely condemned for the decision, which Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer described as "So sad, so weak."
In his comments on CNN's State of the Union, Ramos pointed out that Trump "had a great opportunity" to distance himself from racism, "but he just didn't use it."
Instead, Ramos said, the pardon of Arpaio happened "after he refused for two days to condemn by name the KKK" and "after he equated white supremacists with those marching against racism."
Ramos also called out Trump for describing those marching with white supremacists as "very fine people." And he pointed out that the message Trump is telegraphing to anyone watching is disturbing: "Racism is okay in this country."
RAMOS: Jake, let me just say something about President Trump, because I think that if President Trump wanted to distance himself from racism, he had a great opportunity, and he just didn't use it. Not only he pardoned Arpaio, but this happened after he refused for two days to condemn by name the KKK. This happened after he equated white supremacists with those marching against racism. This happened after he called "very fine people" those who decided to march with neo-Nazis. And after that, he pardoned Arpaio.
What I'm really concerned, Jake — really, really concerned — is that with these actions, President Trump is making racism something normal. And by defending someone who's been accused of racist behavior like Arpaio, he is telling everybody in the United States, 'You know, it is okay. It is okay. Racism is okay in this country.'
And I'm really disturbed and concerned about that, because if President Trump is doing that and Arpaio are doing that, then what's the message for the rest of the people who voted for Donald Trump?
Ramos is a highly respected reporter and advocate for immigrants' rights, and is indefatigable in that work — so much so that, during the campaign, Trump kicked Ramos out of a press conference as Ramos vehemently challenged him on his labeling of Mexicans as "rapists" and his support of an unworkable wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
As Ramos explicitly made clear, Trump's support for Arpaio is not new, nor is it exclusive to Trump — Arpaio has been a hero in the conservative Republican movement for some time.
Trump's defense of the racist sheriff is not a one-off, but rather a pattern of behavior over Trump's entire life. He has advocated bigotry towards blacks, Latinos, and Muslims, while also maintaining strong hostility towards women. And Arpaio is not even the lone racist, violent sheriff to whom Trump has buddied up.
When Trump embraces racial hatred from the Oval Office, he is staying true to who he is. And he is sending a horrific message to the nation that who he is — bigoted, small-minded, and ignorant — is "something normal."