I was with Scott's explanation until the Mexican immigrants statement. He had to twist himself into such contortions to explain why saying that Mexican immigrants coming into the U.S. illegally were rapists and murderers isn't a statement about Mexican people that the rest of it lost a lot of persuasiveness. I mean, he literally says that Trump saying that "Mexico isn't sending us their best" means that Trump thinks that Mexicans are some of the best people (completely ignoring what "their" means in this context). Talk about starting with your conclusion and then twisting the evidence to fit it. I also think that while it's not the same as actively supporting the KKK, if the KKK is supporting you then it's important to at least explore why.
But at the end of the day, I don't actually think Trump is truly a racist, and I think Scott totally and completely misreads who Trump is as a person.
The thing is, I almost wish Trump were a true racist. As the great Walter Sobchak said, "I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."
As the saying goes, hate is not the opposite of love. The opposite of love is indifference. Trump doesn't hate Mexicans, black people, Jews, women, whomever. He simply does not give even a single fuck about any of them (or any of the rest us). As David Brooks wrote in early October:
Your only rest comes when you are insulting somebody, when you are threatening to throw your opponent in jail, when you are looming over her menacingly like a mafioso thug on the precipice of a hit, when you are bellowing that she has “tremendous hate in her heart” when it is clear to everyone you are only projecting what is in your own.
Trump’s emotional makeup means he can hit only a few notes: fury and aggression. In some ways, his debate performances look like primate dominance displays — filled with chest beating and looming growls. But at least primates have bands to connect with, whereas Trump is so alone, if a tree fell in his emotional forest, it would not make a sound.
Trump doesn't insult people because he feels anything about them, he insults people because he literally feels nothing. He didn't say the judge hearing the Trump University case is biased because he's Mexican because Trump actually believes this to be true, it was just the first insult that came to mind, and one that would get him attention.
I don't remember if I ever said it here, but the underlying feeling I kept getting through the campaign was that Trump wanted to be elected president, but that he doesn't want to be president. Sure, he has ideas (or gets them from other people), but they're not tethered to anything. That's why he keeps changing positions and why everything seems so schizoid. He doesn't seem to have the courage of his convictions because he has no convictions. He wanted the validation from the outside, because he's wholly incapable of finding contentment within himself. That's the same reason he's purging his inner circle with a priority on loyalty rather than ability; he has to be the center of adulation.
He can brag about groping women or be perfectly comfortable calling his daughter a "piece of ass" because he's never really had an emotional connection with anyone. He wants the approval of those immediately in front of him, so he takes a guess at how to do that and runs with it. He was okay calling his daughter that because he was on the Howard Stern show, and he thought that was the best way to get Stern (and his listeners) to like him. He was Mr. Right Wing Crazypants during the election, because that's how he got his supporters and campaign staff to like him. He got to speak to crowds of thousands who thought he was just the greatest. Why would he change? The more outside criticism hurt him (and I believe that it does), the more he would just shift his focus to those who were worshiping him while lashing out at the outside. The best way to feel like part of one group is to talk about how you're all under attack.
Notice how now that his "circle" has expanded, suddenly he's become more moderate? It's because he wants the rest of us to adore him too.
So I for one don't hate Trump, and am not angry at Trump for being who he is. I pity Trump. I can feel sorry for all those who will be hurt by his latest round of narcissism, and can only hope that our country and our world are strong enough to survive it (and I think they are). He's like the dog chasing cars, and now he's caught one.