When Donald Trump started out on his journey to become the Republican party’s presidential nominee, he made it very clear that he was more than prepared to push stereotypes about different ethnic (or religious) groups, saying (now quite infamously):
When Mexico sends its people [to the USA], they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.
But he didn’t stop with his fictional idea of “the Mexicans” as one homogeneous group of criminals. He would soon apply this philosophy to “the Muslims” and “the blacks”, too.
In particular, he played up to legitimate (but overblown) fears in the USA about the threat posed by Daesh (Isis/Isil). As a group adhering to the small, chauvinist sect of Wahhabism (like al-Qaeda), which represents less than 1% of the world’s 1.2-billion-strong Muslim population, Daesh should never have been compared to the entire religion of Islam. When asked whether all Muslims hated the USA, however, Trump confidently said (in an intentionally vague manner) that “a lot of them” did. He also called for:
a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States
And with this statement, he was essentially saying that no Muslims – Wahhabi or otherwise – could be trusted.
Trump has not only demonstrated his abilities to heighten ethnic and religious tensions since becoming a presidential nominee, though. His historic record of discrimination has been detailed by numerous news outlets in recent months. The New York Times, for example, concluded in one such article:
Here we have a man who for more than four decades has been repeatedly associated with racial discrimination or bigoted comments about minorities, some of them made on television for all to see. While any one episode may be ambiguous, what emerges over more than four decades is a narrative arc, a consistent pattern — and I don’t see what else to call it but racism.
Vox, meanwhile, said:
As much as his history of racism may show that he’s racist, perhaps who’s supporting or opposing him and why is just as revealing — and it doesn’t paint a favorable picture for Trump.