Mr. Trump, Meet a Hero Whom You Maligned

During the 2016 presidential campaign, I carefully reviewed Trump’s race-related history, including the 1,021 pages of legal documents from racial discrimination suits against him, and the evidence is devastating. We should be careful about tossing around the word “racist,” and any one incident can be misconstrued. But in Trump’s case, we have a consistent, 40-year pattern of insults and discrimination, and I don’t see what else we can call him but a racist.

It’s true, of course, that some African countries are in wretched shape and that some immigrants from poor countries arrive uneducated and end up, along with homegrown Americans, in dubious trades. But careful, Mr. President, given your own grandfather’s history.

More important, the toxic disparagement of immigrants tarnishes heroes like Emmanuel Mensah, 28, a New Yorker who came from the West African country of Ghana and joined the Army National Guard.

Then a couple of weeks ago, when he was back from training, a fire broke out in Mensah’s Bronx building. Mensah easily saved himself, but then rushed back into the burning building to rescue others. Three times he rushed in and out, bringing out four people.

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The fire, fueled by gusty winds, tore through the century-old apartment building. It was the deadliest fire in the city in more than a quarter-century.

Credit
David Dee Delgado for The New York Times

Then Mensah dashed toward the flames again and reached the fourth floor in a desperate effort to save a fifth person. This brave soul from what Trump would describe as an s-hole country, the kind of person Trump was insulting, never made it out. Mensah’s body was found high in the building’s wreckage.

A few days ago, the Army posthumously awarded Mensah the Soldier’s Medal, its highest award for heroism outside of combat, and New York State…

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