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Washington — Tonight, during the first presidential debate, Trump’s response to a question about how to deal with racial tension in America is to “bring back law and order” and to smear communities of color and immigrants and call for stop-and-frisk laws that, as moderator Lester Holt pointed out, have been ruled unconstitutional.

Statement from Daniela Ramirez, Assistant Director of Latino Media, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:


“Women of color are listening to you, Donald Trump. We heard you call Mexicans rapists and drug smugglers on the first day of your campaign. We’ve heard you say you want to kick out immigrants, keep out Muslims, and punish women who have abortions. We’ve heard you describe our neighborhoods and communities as ‘dangerous’ and say that we are ‘living in hell.’ We’ve heard your lies and insults about us, your incitement of violence against us, and your policies that would harm us and our families.  


“We will not tolerate the continued racist and sexist rhetoric being levied against us and our communities.”


Background: Donald Trump has been running a divisive and offensive campaign:

  • Trump has repeatedly made offensive comments describing Black neighborhoods as “inner cities” filled with “broken homeswhile he simultaneously asks Black voters “what they have to lose” by supporting him. Tonight he said, “We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it's so dangerous. You walk down the street. You get shot.


  • Trump launched his presidential campaign with a speech describing Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems to us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." [The Telegraph, 6/16/15]

  • Trump dragged his feet on disavowing the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

    • Asked about being supported by Duke, Trump said, "People like me across the board. Everybody likes me." [Vice, 12/13/15]

    • Trump declined three times to disavow support from white supremacist groups and former KKK leader David Duke. [Huffington Post,2/28/16]

    • Trump blamed his refusal to disavow David Duke’s support on a “bad earpiece.”“That Monday on NBC's ‘Today,’ Trump blamed his refusal to condemn Duke and the KKK on a lousy earpiece but continued to hedge against disavowing the support of ‘groups’ he doesn't know anything about. [NBC News, 2/30/16]

  • Trump said a judge should be disqualified just because of his Mexican heritage.

    • Trump spent more than 10 minutes at a rally attacking a federal judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University for being a “hater” and “very hostile” to Trump, and mentioned that Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born in Indiana, “happens to be, we believe, Mexican.” [Washington Post, 5/27/16]

    • Trump doubled down on his attacks on Judge Curiel, saying he had “an absolute conflict” because Judge Curiel is “of Mexican heritage” and therefore could not be impartial because, Trump said, “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.” [Wall Street Journal, 6/3/16]

    • Trump repeatedly refused to back down from his attacks on Judge Curiel and his Mexican heritage. When asked by Fox News’s Jeanine Pirro why he continued to reference Curiel’s ethnicity, Trump said “Well, because his heritage is Mexican.” Asked if he needed to dial back his rhetoric, Trump said, “I have to be what I have to be.” [Politico, 8/10/16]

    • Trump’s comments were condemned by his fellow Republicans for being racist: “Some of Trump's GOP colleagues now say that they are unsure whether they can support him as their party's nominee based on rhetoric many have derided as racist, while others have criticized the remarks but continued to say that the party's goal is to elect Trump and defeat Hillary Clinton.” [NBC News, 6/9/16]

    • Trump also said a Muslim judge might be similarly biased, because of his call to ban Muslims: On CBS’s Face the Nation, the host John Dickerson asked Trump if a Muslim judge would be similarly biased because of his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants. Trump said: “It’s possible, yes. Yeah. That would be possible. Absolutely.” When Dickerson then said there was a tradition in the U.S. of not judging people based on their heritage, Trump’s response was, “I’m not talking about tradition, I’m talking about common sense, O.K.?” [The New York Times, 6/6/16]

  • Trump called for ban on all Muslims entering the United States: In a statement Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” [Donald Trump Press Release, 12/7/15]

  • Trump “celebrated” Cinco de Mayo by bragging on Twitter about the Trump Tower Grill “taco bowls” and saying “I love Hispanics.” [Twitter, 5/5/16]

  • Trump “joked” about being attacked by Mexico. During a campaign event in New Hampshire, when a plane flew overhead, Trump said, “That could be a Mexican plane up there. They’re getting ready to attack.” [Politico, 8/10/16]

  • Trump has said he would be open to profiling American Muslims. Trump said during an interview on CBS that although he hates “the concept of profiling,” when it comes to American Muslims, “I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country.” [CBS News , 8/10/16]

  • Donald Trump tweeted, then deleted, an anti-Hillary meme “that used dog-whistle anti-Semitism,” which originated from a neo-Nazi web forum. [Mic, 7/3/16]