Herman Cain says Trump doesn't have a racist bone in his body

Herman Cain, the insurgent 2012 candidate who defied expectations to briefly lead the Republican primary field in some polls and who electrified the Tea Party and presaged the rise of Donald Trump, is still as outspoken and passionate as ever. In an interview with Yahoo News, Cain scoffed at the allegation that Trump is a racist and suggested that his own experience as a presidential candidate gives him some insights into what Trump’s been through.
“I don’t think Donald Trump has a racist bone in his body. And you can quote me on that,” Cain told Yahoo News. “I have known him for many years. I have talked to people who work directly for him. The man is a businessman. How could he be a racist? His daughter married a person whose religious belief is Jewish. Good! He doesn’t go around making statements that are racist in nature. No, he says things where some people out there — especially people who don’t like him — try to spin it as being racist.”
That is certainly how Trump, who frequently calls himself “the least racist person you’ll ever meet,” sees himself. But amid his reported remarks about preferring immigrants from countries like Norway to those from Haiti or African nations, many news stories citing evidence to the contrary persist: his insistence that President Barack Obama wasn’t born in America, his seeming reluctance to disavow white supremacists, repeated allegations that his company discriminates against black people seeking to rent apartments in Trump buildings.
But Cain maintains that he never observed anything at Trump’s campaign events that would indicate that he harbors any animus for minorities.
“When he was campaigning, I spoke at three of his rallies. There were plenty of black people and Hispanic people there trying to help him get elected. I never saw him try to put anybody down. The people who don’t like him are trying to stick him with a racist label, which is not true,” Cain said. At a campaign rally in Atlanta, he vouched for Trump as a “shucky ducky” kind of candidate. Trump received 8 percent of votes by black people in 2016.
When asked about the infamous meeting during which Trump reportedly disparaged African countries as “shitholes,” Cain argued that the whole debacle is an example of how the media misconstrues the truth to fit the narrative they are trying to push.

“First, he denied saying that word. Two senators that were in the room didn’t hear him say that word. The head of homeland security said she didn’t hear him say that word,” Cain told Yahoo News. “And the only person who said that he said it was Sen. Dick Durbin. And then people have picked up the alleged saying of it as if he said it. Why can’t they believe him and four other people?”
It’s true that Trump has denied saying the word; Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga., put out a statement claiming they could not recall him saying it; and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified the same before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pushed back against Trump’s immigration comments during the meeting and reportedly confirmed the off-color remarks to others.

Cain takes Trump at his word that he didn’t use this crass language, and argues Trump was discussing the conditions of those countries — not their people. Nevertheless, Cain said he understands that Trump’s behavior and rhetoric may be off-putting to some people.
“Yes, he has said some things maybe when he was using his Twitter account that may have been a little rough around the edges. I get that!” Cain said. “And there are certainly some that make some of us cringe a little bit. But I love the title of the book that came up recently written by Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie: ‘Let Trump Be Trump.’”
According to Cain, someone who puts aside Trump’s language and personality and just focuses on the results of his policies would see how great Trump’s first-year performance was. Cain said he would give it an A for two major reasons: He rolled back regulations and signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which he called “one of the biggest legislative achievements in 30 years.”
Though Cain still enjoys rock star receptions at conservative speaking events, it’s hard to overstate just how ubiquitous he was in 2011. In many ways, Cain was a precursor to the Trump phenomenon: a populist businessman with a larger-than-life personality who made headlines with nearly every utterance. According to the Pew Research Center, Cain was the most covered Republican presidential candidate of 2011.
Cain’s buoyant personality, pithy quips and businessman sensibilities were further bolstered by an inspiring biography. After a poor childhood in Atlanta, he studied mathematics at Morehouse College then computer science at Purdue University. During this time, Cain worked for the U.S. Navy, helping to design fire control systems. He applied his technical skills while working for Coca-Cola and then Pillsbury Company, before transitioning into business management. He became president and CEO of the struggling Godfather’s Pizza restaurant chain in 1986, and successfully turned the franchiser around, scaling back the number of restaurants and increasing sales at the remaining locations. His interests shifted toward politics, and he launched a failed Senate bid from Georgia in 2004 before his presidential run turned him into a political star.
But his journey to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was upended by accusations of sexual harassment, which he adamantly denied. The media’s attention abruptly shifted from his life story and improbable rise, to the allegations and denials. At the time, with his wife by his side, Cain announced that he was suspending his campaign to spare his family from any further pain — an explanation he reiterated on Fox News in the post-Weinstein era. When asked whether he misses the level of attention he received as a candidate, Cain said he’s happier without it because a lot of the coverage was misguided or based on lies.


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