Several of my Facebook friends who are Trump supporters claim that accusations that Mr. Trump was a racist did not begin until he started campaigning against Hillary Clinton. That is not exactly true. The questions about Mr Trump's racial attitudes began during President Obama's first term when he allied himself with the "Birther" movement questioning the President's citizenship. Many Black entertainers, athletes and political figures who were friends with Mr Trump were appalled by his alliance with far right figures aiming to discredit the President. and began to distance themelves from him. They were therefore not suprised when Mr Trump launched his 2016 Presidential bid by attacking Mexican and Muslim immigrants. They saw this as another example of his latent racism coming to the surface
As the campaign continued, more damning information about Mr Trump came to the surface. It was well known in New York City that the apartment complexes built by Fred Trump, Donald Trump's father, discriminated against Black apartment seekers. What was not known was that Donald Trump had an official role in the company when the Justice Department sued it in 1973. That only came out in the campaign, and for those who had been shocked by Mr Trump's alliance with the Birther movement, and the support given to his campaign by white supremacists, it helped connect the dots.
Of course, Donald Trump is not the only candidate for high office whose history on race issues is filled with inconsistencies and questionable positions. But he is the only one openly stoking racial resentments on the part of aggrieved whites in ways that make people of color in the US feel at risk. That is the path he chose to take in his quest for the White House. If he had not done that, then people would not be turning to his personal history for clues to his current posture