Rumsfeld Comparing Obama to a Trained Ape Won’t Win GOP Black Votes

Rumsfeld 'trained ape' comment stirs controversy

Republicans just can’t help reminding blacks why they should not consider voting for them, at least not seriously.  In a Fox News interview, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared President Barack Obama to a “trained ape” for his failure to sign an agreement with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on the number of US troops allowed to remain in Afghanistan after 2014 to help with security.

“A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement.  It does not take a genius. And we have so mismanaged that relationship,” said Rumsfeld.

While I agree Obama’s retreat from the world stage has virtually neutered America’s influence globally in conflicts like Syria, Iran, and Crimea, comparing the first black president to a trained ape is just in the poorest of taste.  Since slavery, racists have compared blacks to monkeys, gorillas, apes and called blacks derogatory names like nigger, coon, and darkies. After Obama’s election, more than a few Republican politicians have compared him, his family, and other blacks to animals.

I don’t think the intention of Rumsfeld’s remarks was racist but he may as well have compared the president to a “trained darkie” because his comments sounded racist. A white conservative friend of mine observed, “It just sounds racist. That’s probably not what Rumsfeld meant but the president is black.”

“United States diplomacy has been so bad—so embarrassingly bad,” Rumsfeld said. That’s accurate and Rumsfeld comments on Obama’s foreign policy in Afghanistan should have been more in line with this tone. Instead he just said spoke without thinking about the implications of comparing a black president to an ape.

That’s the fundamental problem with many carrying the banner in today’s Republican Party. They are so dismissive of and out of touch with the race culturally, that people like Rumsfeld don’t understand why blacks would find such a remark offensive. Even if he didn’t mean it as racist.

Fresh off the heels of the Republican National Committee’s one-year anniversary of its Growth & Opportunity Project to attract more minority voters, Rumsfeld’s comment is more proof the GOP isn’t serious about inclusion or winning future presidential elections. Comments like his are just the distraction the media loves to report on instead of Obama’s failed leadership at home and abroad.

If Republicans and the RNC are serious about winning more black votes and future elections, here’s some advice. First, hire more people of color at every level across all aspects of conservative politics Congress, campaigns, think tanks, and political organizations.  If conservative politicians worked with more blacks, I suspect they would be less inclined to say stupid things that offend blacks in speeches or other forms of communications because the blacks working with them would tell them “you can’t say that because it sounds racist.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his autobiography My Grandfather’s Son that he recommended President George H. W. Bush appoint “blacks to positions of responsibility than the race-related ones they’d traditionally held.” This is great advice for the RNC, which seems to believe blacks are only qualified to work in “minority outreach” positions at the RNC.

Second, if Republicans want to earn more of the black vote, the RNC and other groups should follow Senator Rand Paul’s lead and take the conservative message to places Republicans aren’t used to going like historically black colleges and universities. Paul has spoken Howard University and Simpson College.  The RNC also needs to be talking to groups like the National Urban League, the NAACP and other “so called” black advocacy groups.

The RNC won’t win over votes in one speech, and certainly won’t erase it’s long-standing history of making stupid remarks on race and culture, but it can begin to build and sustain a conversation with black voters. If blacks don’t hear from the GOP how voting Republican will improve their lives, then they will continue to vote over 90% Democrat, especially when our spokespeople make offensive and racist remarks.

Democrats won four of the past six presidential elections and they look poised for another victory in 2016 unless the GOP can stop putting its foot in its mouth and start doing some outreach.



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25 Responses to “Rumsfeld Comparing Obama to a Trained Ape Won’t Win GOP Black Votes”

  1. will says:

    “Rumsfeld’s comment is more proof the GOP isn’t serious about inclusion or winning future presidential elections”

    I think on a whole the GOP is very serious and frustrated about their failure to reach the black community at least, I hope they are because as a conservative I am. It’s a continual frustration to me that black’s listen to these liberal phonies whose policies have gutted the black community.

    Democrats have opposed charter schools and vouchers because of the slavish indebtedness to teacher unions. This policy has doomed blacks to a substandard education and their best chance for career mobility.

    Democrats have opposed tough criminal enforcement which has allowed the cycle of violent crime to increase. The black community
    has suffered the most from these policies because statistically they’ve been the victimized by crime at a much higher rate than other communities.

    Democrats have supported high tax and spend policies that have hurt career mobility for blacks and relegated them to limited opportunities.

    Democrats have supported secular social policies such as abortion,
    extra constitution rights for gays and a liberal indoctrination program in public schools. Blacks on a whole have a more christian belief system than other groups and therefore should be alarmed at these policies.

  2. Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastián d'Anconia says:

    Ragnar, old friend, check you premises. That you don’t allow Ms. Wright’s response without besmirching her as playing from the liberal playbook is precisely the attitude of which she speaks… and that to which Mr. Rumsfeld was wittingly catering.

  3. str5780 says:

    I just love all the responses, you clowns will not see the inside of the oval office for a very,very very long time !!!

  4. Ragnar says:

    Or perhaps the better question is. . . is this the usual level of conversation you receive. Stumbling on your site I thought you wrote a thoughtful article to which I responded with another thoughtful piece. Most of the rest of this gibberish is 14 year old school yard tripe.
    The “You’re a racist . . . no, you’re a racist!!!” nonsense is not something I tend to participate in? Perhaps you are comfortable with it or have to settle for it because it is the audience you draw???
    Your missive was MUCH better than the responses it has elicited.

  5. Ragnar says:

    CBC . . . what do you think of/ are you comfortable with the intellectual level of conversation you receive here from 1) people who attempt to address your questions and observations; and, 2) from the people who are emotionally accusing others of racism?

  6. gs says:

    Thoughtful post. Iirc I’ve seen reports that Rumsfeld used the phrase “trained ape” wrt whites, but that doesn’t change that the current incident is gobsmackingly tone-deaf.

    Since the GOP Establishment treats their own voters as contemptible cannon fodder, this kind of gaffe is not surprising.

  7. Tyler D says:

    News flash Crystal your only wanted for window dressing. Conservatives don’t want the minority vote and they don’t want to appoint people like you to postions of power with in their ranks. Another point you might have made that if your going to have a wingnut point out flaws in President Obama’s foreign policy it might go over better if the guy doing the complaining isn’t and incompetent war criminal!

  8. James says:

    @17BlackFemaleRepublican no it was not a mistake nor a human error on crystal’s part but it was a concerted effort to lie and make Rand Paul to appear more active in the African American community than he is or was. He has never spoke once to KY State University a HBCU in his home state, he a fraud just like Crystal.

  9. Franklin says:

    I owe my proud racism to barry, michelle, eric holder, jessie jackson and al sharpton….

    they have really set the racism bar high….

  10. Raegus says:

    It’s been a while since I moved to England but I see the Republican Party is still keen on their racist dog whistle politics. Comments like this are intelligently designed to attract racist voters whilst being easy enough to deny if questioned. It won’t be long before America is a one party country with republicans completely unable to get a sniff at the politics table and funnily enough it’s the republicans who are working extremely hard to make this one party system a reality. Once upon a time playing on white racial fears was an effective way to get votes, and hey, that’s all political elites really care about regardless of their affiliation. America today is no longer this way inclined in sufficient numbers for the republicans to succeed using this method. They need to diversify or die.

  11. steve welch says:

    And some people really wonder why most blacks won’t vote for the redneck party.

  12. Ragnar says:

    Too much eh ?

  13. BoilerFan says:

    I experienced a rhetorical beating less than a year into the Obama Presidency when, in an online discussion, I wrote something that I had typed dozens of times in the pre-Obama era. In referencing how liberals always seem to ignore our exploding national debt–the conversation dealt with the cumulative fiscal impact of the bailouts, the “stimulus” bill and the first deficit-laden budget bill passed by Pelosi, Reid and Obama–I suggested that the national debt was “the 800 pound gorilla sitting in the corner of the room.” Even though the fiscal threat is extremely serious, liberals are endlessly oblivious to the true scope and nature posed by that threat. The phrase I used is quite common and had nothing at all to do with comparing Obama to a gorilla, but that is precisely what liberal people in the comment thread suggested. It’s frustrating when people (including moi) who harbor no racial animus are nonetheless called “racist” for simply using long-accepted phrases and metaphors when discussing Obama’s policies. We’ve grown way too sensitive. The charge of “racism” has become so common that the word no longer packs the same sort of punch it had in the past. We ought to use that word sparingly, saving it for real instances of racism.

  14. Franklin says:

    Yes, I read the article.

  15. 17BlackFemaleRepublican says:

    @James It was a mistake. We are all human. It doesn’t deny the fact that Rand Paul did talk to Howard University.

    @Franklin, Did you even read this article?

  16. Franklin says:

    Will blacks ever grow up and stop whining about EVERYTHING?

  17. Ragnar Danneskjöld says:

    I think that your observations here reveal the crux of the problem Republicans face. 1) Republicans cannot control how others are going to interpret what they say, and especially if the intent is to interpret maliciously. 2) In the course of the article you agree with the point Rumsfeld makes on a horribly mismanaged foreign policy, and 3) you admit that you don’t think his intention was racist.
    In an age when every philosophical, ideological, or political disagreement with the President is not argued in the arena of ideas, much less the halls of Congress, but is instead smeared with the dull broad brush of “RACISM” Why do you, given your stated Conservative credentials, still choose to play on “their” playing field and be offended? (“Their” being the professionally offended class)
    I am miffed how you then begin to extrapolate connections straight out of the democrat liberal playbook about how this one man’s comments are “more proof the GOP isn’t serious about inclusion or winning future presidential elections.” I am having difficulties understanding how, if you believe #1-3 you can then deduce #4?
    I think objective observation reveals that, taking the Rumsfeld comment at its worst, “tone deafness” doesn’t have to be representative of an entire political party, otherwise comments like Joe Biden’s “He is bright, clean and articulate,” or Harry Reid’s “he only has a negro dialect when he wants to,” or Bill Clinton’s “A year ago he would have been getting us coffee,” would have had serious negative effects on the democrat party, but as the last election reveals, they observably have not. So I suggest something else here is at play besides the old, tired, ahistorical notion of a horribly “racist” GOP.
    I enjoy your blog, think your observations are valid, and much of your advice is good but I think you perhaps don’t realize how much of your verbiage and assumptions are or certainly appear to be determined by general leftist zeitgeist that distorts modern American political conversation.

  18. James says:

    @CBC if you were even remotely connected to the African American community or even black for that matter, you would know that Simpson College is not a HBCU as you would have one to believe. A simple search on google and an idoit like you would have found that fact out ( Do your research before you tell another lie and do some community service in the African American community.

  19. tega says:

    franklin, the obamas don’t need all the white vote to win elections. While you are whining about getting the white vote they are winning elections and your party is too stupid to realize it has to compete for the minority vote. and fyi, the obamas don’t hate white people. get over yourself.

  20. tega says:

    And franklin get off your high horses, the Obamas don’t hate white people. And fyi, the obamas got enough of the white vote to get them elected to 2 terms. While you are there talking about getting the white vote, they are winning elections, and your party is too stupid to realize that it has to compete for the minority vote.

  21. tega says:

    Andrea Silver you are a mentally retarded racist and are the reason why the gop would never get black votes. There are lines you don’t cross. You said every president in history got called a monkey, well every president in history was an older white male which your party still caters to. You are saying that you are aware of the history, but a black person taking offense to being called a monkey, confirms that black people are monkeys. that’s your argument? Well then why are you offended when you are called crackers? Doesn’t that imply that you are a cracker? Why are you offended if I call you a child molesting hill billy inbred rapist? Doesn’t that imply that you are those things. You racist idiots argue with ZERO LOGIC. Did you finish high school? Seriously what is the highest education you have attained? Hill billy high? In bred united?

  22. Franklin says:

    michelle hating white people won’t win democrats any white votes….

  23. I.T says:

    great article as always. As a young, minority, and new conservative, Rand Paul is the only person(at this point) that would have my vote for 2016. Rumsfeld knew what he was walking into when he made that comparison. I think the GOP is also afraid to lose a very small segment (people who came to Ted Nugent’s defense) of their voters. Its also fair to point out that white people were insulted last year during the summer with the term “cracker”(which they rightfully should be). GOP needs to realize that black people have words that they find offensive as well.

  24. intragan says:


  25. Andrea Silver says:

    But every president has been call an ape or a monkey. Why is it racist when the president is black? Yes, I’m aware of the history, to continue to take offense simply confirms what the insult implies.

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