the national interest

Conservative Scholar Declares Trump, Entire New York Population Racism-Free

Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Holds Nevada Caucus Night Rally
How could a lifelong New Yorker like Donald Trump have any racist beliefs? Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The foreign-policy scholar Edward Luttwak appears on The Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page to urge his fellow conservatives to get over their fear of Donald Trump. Luttwak’s main argument is that people freaked out that Ronald Reagan would start a nuclear war, and he didn’t, so there’s no reason to fear Trump’s foreign policy (or, by this reasoning, anybody’s). But the really interesting part comes when Luttwak turns to Trump’s bigotry. Luttwak argues that Trump cannot be racist because he is from New York:

What about the racism then? Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Trump has met one or two people during his life who are not white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. He is unlikely to be startled by an encounter with a person of “Hispanic” or “Latino” origin. He has worked successfully with any number of African-Americans, and he has certainly shared a meal or two with Jews, including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Apparently, a New Yorker by definition cannot be racist. Luttwak identifies a fascinating causal mechanism: Exposure to, or dealing with, members of a minority group precludes you from developing any racial animosity. This argument would seem to inoculate not just New York’s 8.4 million residents (including past and present New Yorkers, like Trump’s Klan-supporting father) from any possibility of developing racist beliefs, but also pretty much anybody who hasn’t spent his entire life confined to a white-supremacist compound.

Conservative Scholar Declares Trump Racism-Free