Donald Trump is deploying an infamous racist trope in an effort to take down Ben Carson, a top rival for the Republican nomination.
In an interview with CNN, Trump said that Carson — who has recently overtaken Trump in some state and national polls — had a “pathological temper” and was prone to violence. He then compared Carson to a child molester.
“You don’t cure these people. You don’t cure a child molester. There’s no cure for it. Pathological, there’s no cure for that,” Trump said.
Carson discussed his struggles with violence as a boy in his autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” which was published in 1990. He described attempting to stab one of his friends and hitting another boy with a rock.
Carson also described how he overcame his issues with issues with violence as a youth to become an internationally renowned neurosurgeon.
The depiction of a black man as uncontrollably violent and dangerous is an infamous racist trope known as the “brute caricature.” According to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia “[t]he brute caricature portrays black men as innately savage, animalistic, destructive, and criminal — deserving punishment, maybe death. This brute is a fiend, a sociopath, an anti-social menace.”
In another racially loaded remark in the same interview, Trump said that Marco Rubio supported “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants because he’s Hispanic. Rubio co-authored a bill in the Senate that would have opened a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He now opposes the measure.
Trump’s campaign first gained momentum when, in his June announcement speech, he made racist generalizations about Mexican immigrants. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists,” Trump said.