Appearing as a guest on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers, MSNBC contributor and frequent Morning Joe guest Donny Deutsch accused President Donald Trump of racism as he cited the President's history of promoting the birther conspiracy theory against former President Barack Obama.
Deutsch notably has his own checkered past on race since he once uttered a racial epithet on national television as he trashed Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
After recalling earlier in the interview that he and Trump used to be friends, and complaining that, as a past landlord, Trump once took $3,000 out of his security deposit over a damaged bath tub, Deutsch first brought up birtherism, calling it "ridiculously racist."
Deutsch soon related for viewers that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen had called him and complained that Trump was "hurt" at being called "racist" in 2011 when Trump was talking up birther conspiracy theories against then-President Obama. A bit later, Deutsch again discussed the issue after host Meyers brought it up again. Meyers posed:
I think we were all talking about -- and you mentioned it -- the birtherism moment, and that was a real moment for me and how I assessed Donald Trump. Looking at it now, though, of course there were other things. You know, he was sued for housing discrimination -- he suggested the death penalty for the Central Park Five.
You know, he's had very immoral business practices over the years. Do you think the New York community was a little easy on Donald Trump over those days or just didn't take him seriously enough for a guy who was doing real serious things that were having a negative impact on people?
Meyers's noteworthy invocation of the Central Park Five case was misleading as Trump called for the death penalty to be legalized again at a time when it was not a sentencing option at all, but, at the same time, he argued that it should only apply to adults, which would have ruled out the Central Park Five who were underage.
Deutsch recalled that he used to have a more positive view of Trump, and then added:
The birther thing showed this really ugly side that either, at worst, he's a racist, or, even worse, he's a transactional racist. And so, to me, it was ugly, and the reason he stuck with it, he is a transactional -- it worked, if you think about what he ran on. And what he ran on was what the wall is all about -- 2045, guys with our color skin are going to be minorities in this country. People are terrified about that. So he ran on "Make America great again," which was really "Make America white again."
A number of years ago, while appearing on HLN's The Joy Behar Show, Deutsch used the racially charged term "coconut" to deride Senator Rubio, although he later claimed not to be aware of the racial implications when he apologized.
And, as for his suggestion that birtherism is automatically racist, not only is citizenship not a race, but it is commonplace for partisan activists on both sides to stretch and push conspiracy theories to discredit the other side. Some on the left have pushed conspiracy theories that President George W. Bush deliberately allowing the 9/11 attacks to happen, or stealnig the 2000 election.
There was even a segment of the left that pushed birtherism when Hillary Clinton associate Sydney Blumenthal peddled the theory while Obama was a political opponent of hers.
A bit earlier on the Wednesday night show, Deutsch hyperbolically also suggested that President Trump is a threat to the constitutional rights of Americans: "This guy showed up and has tried to undo what our great grandparents died for -- separation of state (sic), freedom of the press."