The Rumour To 'Trump' All Fake News? | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

The Rumour To ‘Trump’ All Fake News?

Comment Writer Jake Kilshaw discusses recent rumours of Donald Trump's racist comments, and why he should be more careful if he wants to be re-elected

He’s done it again. Maybe.

The latest in the long list of questionable things Donald Trump might have said is referring to the continent of Africa - and Haiti - as ‘shithole countries’. Given the U.S. President’s history it certainly wouldn’t be too surprising if this turned out to be true but this has become just another example of a rumour being taken as fact by his critics.

We have to remember that there is no definitive proof that Trump used that word. Unsurprisingly, these claims have come from critics of Trump who were present at a meeting to discuss a proposed immigration reform. Critics have backed up these claims and supporters of the President have denied them. We may never know what exactly happened in that meeting, but unfortunately, the anti-Trump rhetoric in the media remains strong.

An article in The Huffington Post was worded as if Trump’s comments were fact, stating ‘President Donald Trump described Haiti and African nations as ‘shithole’ countries and slammed the idea of restoring protections for immigrants from those regions.’ The Huffington Post is not alone in reporting this entirely unproven claim as fact. This isn’t the first time Trump’s critics in the mainstream media have bent the truth, and it won’t be the last. It’s no wonder he announced the ‘winners’ of the 2017 Fake News Awards on Wednesday night.

I’m not saying Trump definitely didn’t use this language, and it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he did
In a time where the mainstream media in the U.S. is trusted less than ever before, and in no small part as a result of Trump’s own attacks on the likes of CNN, New York Times and Washington Post, it is imperative that these publications avoid inaccuracies at all costs or Trump will win.

Equally, Trump has to be more careful that most other politicians. His no-holds-barred strategy worked wonders for him during the election campaign, with his poll numbers often increasing after doing or saying things that might have ended another politician’s campaign. This is because his loyal fan base loves the renegade, anti-political character they voted for. When Trump refers to an entire continent as a ‘shithole’, his supporters love it and it only proves to them once again why they turned up in their thousands to countless rallies in one of the most enthusiastic political campaigns in memory.

But the problem lies in the fact that Trump isn’t campaigning anymore - he’s President of the United States. A controversial remark that worked wonders for him on the campaign trail doesn’t work for the leader of the free world. Successful politicians don’t just serve the people who voted for them, but everyone in their constituency, regardless of their political affiliation.

The biggest challenge Trump must face is to work for the entire American people, even those who want him kicked out of office
The biggest challenge Trump must face is to work for the entire American people, even those who want him kicked out of office.Controversial comments might be part of what got him elected, but they aren’t going to help him win over the hearts of the rest of the American public.

While the left-leaning media bias in the U.S. means that it is usual for Republicans to be under more media scrutiny than Democrats, the media opposition that Trump faces is like no other. Even the most divisive Republican presidents of recent decades - figures such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush - had an easier time with the media than Trump. Yes, a lot of this comes from Trump’s constant attacks on the media which have certainly worsened relations between the two, but going forward, Trump needs to change - especially if he wants any chance of reelection in 2020.


First year Politics and International Relations student (@jakekilshaw)


2nd February 2018 at 9:00 am

Images from

Gage Skidmore