Did the Americans have a racist president?

Baltimore and Co. - Racism and US presidents - Trump is not the first

Donald Trump has entered serious accusations of racism in recent attacks against four US MPs and one congressman. He described himself again on Wednesday as "the least racist person in the world". But it is not the first time that statements by the Republican criticized as racist have caused a stir.

And it is certainly not the first case in recent US history in which a president or future president exposed himself to racism allegations - even if the criticism sometimes came only in later generations. Recordings of a telephone conversation from 1971 in which the then California Governor Ronald Reagan uttered racist insults: He described UN representatives from African countries as "monkeys" have only recently become public. Ten years later, Reagan moved into the White House.

Thomas Jefferson: Racist Attitudes towards African Americans

Many of the early presidents, from George Washington to Zachary Taylor, were black slave owners and in power when African-Americans, Indigenous people, and Latinos had no right to vote and were otherwise severely discriminated against. Presidents often expressed racist views that were widespread at the time.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, before taking office as the nation's third president in 1801, that "all human beings are created equal." But in his book, Notes on the State of Virginia, published in 1785, he expressed a number of views about African Americans that would now be considered racist.

He wrote that blacks had a "very strong and unpleasant smell" and were unable to create art and poetry. And although he said slavery was immoral in his eyes, he owned slaves - and according to historians, he had a sexual relationship with at least one of them, Sally Hemings. If all slaves were ever released, Jefferson wrote, they should be deported because, in his view, blacks and whites could not live peacefully together.

Andrew Jackson: Southern slaveholders

Andrew Jackson, who became the seventh president in 1829, was also a slaveholder from the south. In 1804, in an advertisement, he offered $ 50 for the return of an escaped slave and an extra $ 10 "for every 100 lashes up to 300 that someone gives him."

Presidential biographer Jon Meacham wrote in his 2008 book "American Lion: Andrew Jackson and the White House," that Jackson had about 150 slaves - and that his will did not order a single release.

As president, he also gave southerners free rein to seize anti-slavery pamphlets, a direct violation of the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the first article of the constitution. He called leaflets calling for equality for blacks "unconstitutional and evil".

Woodrow Wilson: Performs racist film "The Birth of a Nation"

In recent history, Democrat Woodrow Wilson has drawn criticism several times. As president of Princeton University, he tried to keep blacks out of college. After moving into the White House, he refused to break the separation of blacks and whites in civil service. In 1915 he caused outrage with the showing of the racist film "The Birth of a Nation" in the White House.

When white mobs attacked African Americans in numerous communities in the summer of 1919 and hundreds of people died, Wilson turned against lynchings. But he did not use government resources to stop the violence.

The Democrat Lyndon Johnson became president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and campaigned vigorously and successfully for a historic electoral law to protect against racial discrimination. In a passionate speech, he implored skeptical parliamentarians to approve the law. But according to tape recordings, Johnson habitually used racist terms in private conversations to describe African Americans.

Richard Nixon: "Those little Negro bastards"

So did Johnson's Republican successor Richard Nixon. “So we're going to let these little Negro bastards receive social assistance, 2400 per family,” he said in a private conversation about what he believed to be too lax work demands on potential recipients. Nixon - president from 1969 to 1974 - also made derogatory comments about Jews and native Mexicans, Italians and Irish in the country.

Also read: "He hates whites and cops": Trump attacks civil rights activists

It was also in a conversation with him that Reagan was abusive as California governor. A corresponding tape recording was recently published by the Nixon Presidential Library, according to The Atlantic magazine. In it, Reagan vented his frustration with UN delegates who had voted against the United States.

He watched the matter on television, said the future president. "Seeing all these, these monkeys from those African countries - the hell with them, they still don't feel comfortable wearing shoes." Nixon starts to laugh out loud.

More than 40 years later, in January 2018, Trump was accused of having called African states "dirt holes". If he did so, he fell on the black Congressman Elijah Cummings last weekend, describing his constituency in the greater Baltimore area as a “rat and rodent mess”. Trump found no human being would wish to live there. But many live there - mostly black people.

Also read: After accusations of racism: Trump calls for apologies from women democrats

From RND / AP