- We know that his father was a member of the KKK.
- We know that Trump was sued twice by the US government for discriminating against African-Americans in his rental properties.
- We know that he relied on racial stereotypes when it came to hiring practices for his casinos--Jews, not Blacks, should be accountants.
- We know that he was so very focused on the kids of color who were accused of raping a white woman in central park.
- We know that he was an obsessive birther.
- We know that he started off his campaign by calling all Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals.
- We know that he sought a ban against all Muslims (Islamophobia/xenophobia go along with racism damn near most of the time, sorry Indian Americans).
- We know that he has repeatedly used slurs towards Native Americans.
- We know that he thought a judge of Mexican descent could not be impartial.
- We know that he retweeted stuff from a guy whose twitter handle is "white genocide."
- We know that he said that both sides at Charlottesville include fine people. Yeah, some Nazis are fine.
- We know that he thinks that a woman of Korean descent who gave an intel brief on Pakistan should be working on North Korea.
- We know that Trump has appointed and hired racists: Jeff Sessions (too racist to be a federal judge in the 1980s, just racist enough to be Attorney General now), Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, and, oh yeah, John Kelly (retired generals can be xenophobes).
I guess what matters here is that this happens to be the event that gives people in the media to say what we have always known--that Trump is a racist. That the permission structure has changed--that it is no longer seen as taboo to say that the Emperor is wearing no clothes--that Trump is a racist. Of course, Trump will deny being a racist, but the entire discourse now makes it clear that he is a racist and that this is not normal. Yeah, we have had presidents who had racist attitudes, but what we say and do in 2018 is a bit different than what acceptable behind closed doors (Nixon) or what was legislated in the 1920s (I just learned that Harding and Coolidge were awful in ways I had not known or at least remembered).
My frustration is, of course, that it took this long and this many events for folks to start saying what was already quite clear--that Trump is a racist. He is not consistent about many things--he often switches his stances based on the last person who talks to him (or gives him particular flavors of Starbust candies?)--but his racism has been perhaps his most consistent attribute, other than his greed.
So, yeah, woot for folks calling Trump out as the white supremacist that he has long been. This is significant. But let's not overrate the moment either as it is not clear that it will change people's behavior for very long.