Donald Trump, whose middle name is controversy, has done it again, and some folks aren’t taking it.
The Donald recently announced his intention to run for president of the United States as a candidate of the Republican Party in 2016. But it wasn’t this announcement, bizarre though as it may have been, that caught wide public attention. What did was his startling rant about Mexican immigrants in America: “When Mexico sends its people, 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.”
The rant set off a firestorm of outrage, as well it should—the result being a mass pullout by persons and institutions from deals with Trump and events produced by and associated with him, including that old American standby, the Miss USA pageant, and the bigger Miss Universe franchise. Having sown his wind, Trump is now reaping the whirlwind.
Quite predictably, Mexico announced that it would not be sending a representative to the Miss Universe competition, an annual celebration of pulchritude and national identity. Chef Jose Andres, Macy’s department store chain, the Spanish television network Univision, the racing car entity Nascar, sporting network ESPN, and golfing associations such as the PGA Tour have severed ties with Trump, doing away with events that bear his name and removing relevant merchandise from sight.
The American network giant NBC, Trump’s partner in airing the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants, announced that it was cutting him loose and no longer airing those events. Even Trump’s trademark show, “The Apprentice,” will now go on without him. The Republican Party is reportedly both embarrassed and terrified by his actions.
But Trump is hardly remorseful despite all the protests. Given the opportunity to take back his remarks—“unjust and hurtful,” according to Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega of Colombia—he refused, even adding that he had not been misquoted in any way. “If there was something stated incorrectly, it would have been brought up immediately and with great enthusiasm. The issues I have addressed, and continue to address, are vital steps to make America great again!” the mogul wrote in a statement. “Additionally, I would be the best jobs president that God ever created. Let’s get to work!”
He even found a small cable network to air the Miss USA pageant.
But thanks to his offensive speech, the pageant will not have Filipino-American celebrity Cheryl Burke as cohost. Burke, who gained fame in the popular “Dancing With the Stars,” where she notched 18 seasons, posted a statement on Facebook explaining why she was pulling out of hosting duties: “In light of the recent statements made by Donald Trump and the subsequent decision by NBC to cut ties with Mr. Trump, I cannot in good conscience move forward with participating in this year’s Miss USA pageant as its cohost.”
The pageant has lost as well one of its judges: Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, who, as Miss Rhode Island, was the first American contestant to win the title since 1997. “I believe … that no person should be marginalized due to shape, color, or belief,” Culpo said, adding:
“I still feel a strong sense of loyalty to the people within the [Miss Universe] organization. …[I]t kills me to think that their livelihood could be affected because of what Trump said. … Unfortunately, though, I had to pull away from the pageant because I could not be involved with a clear conscience. … I also felt that I had to stand up for what I believe in. I applaud the actions that many have taken around the country and hope this unfortunate situation serves as a catalyst for future change.”
Kudos. These women and others like them—in the Philippines as well, in connection with other racist offenses—are walking their talk and challenging others to do the same. Whether in a local or international setting, when someone as powerful as Trump behaves in the manner of a caveman, it is important that umbrage be taken and a clear statement be quickly made not only in words but also in action. There is just no room for racism in this global village.
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