Donald Trump may be facing universal scorn for the recent unveiling of unflattering remarks he made towards women, but the scandal over those videotaped remarks has taken away concerns over his continued attacks against the Central Park Five.
On Friday, Trump declared to CNN that he believed that the Central Park Five were guilty even though they had been exonerated of their accused crimes by the legal system. Trump said that “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”
The facts of the case
The Central Park case occurred in 1989, when a 28-year old white jogger was raped and beaten when going on a night run. The case attracted widespread attention, especially when five Mexican and black juveniles were accused of the crime. The five juveniles confessed after undergoing intense and coercive interrogation by the local police.
Donald Trump did not hesitate to place himself in the middle of this racially charged incident. He took a series of full-page advertisements in New York City calling to “bring the death penalty back” and declaring that “civil liberties end when an attack on our safety begins.”
The five juveniles were eventually convicted and each served between six to 13 years in prison. But in 2002, another man already serving life for other rape and murders charges confessed that he had raped the victim without any help. DNA evidence corroborated his testimony and the Central Park Five were exonerated. The five launched a civil suit in response to their wrong conviction and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio eventually settled with them in 2014 for $41 million.
Yet despite these facts, Trump has made it clear that he still believes that the Central Park Five are guilty. He criticized de Blasio for the settlement and proudly declared that if he were mayor, the five men would not have seen a dime.
These remarks were hotly criticized by the members of the Five as well as director Ken Burns, who filmed a 2012 documentary about the incident. Member Raymond Santana, Jr. tweeted that he was tired of proving his innocence, insulted Trump, and declared that he would never be able to win the black and Latino vote.
Meanwhile, Burns stated that Trump “needs to be examined by a psychiatrist” and accused of “perpetuating racial stereotypes.” The director, most famous for his documentary on the Civil War, did not hesitate to compare Trump to dictators and demagogues who represent the worst of the human condition.
But while some may be shocked about Trump’s stubbornness in regard to the Central Park Five, he has consistently adhered to outlandish theories even in the face of overwhelming evidence.
For example, Trump has refused to outright admit that he was wrong in regard to the Obama birther controversy which he played a large role in perpetuating. While he did finally admit that Obama was born in the United States last month, Trump’s campaign has claimed that his birther antics were a success because he got Obama to release his birth certificate in 2011. But Trump continued to question that birth certificate as late as 2014. There is also his refusal to accept climate change as he calls it a Chinese conspiracy and his friendliness towards conspiracy-based media types such as Infowars and Alex Jones.
But while Trump will face some scrutiny for his remarks about the Central Park Five, the campaign and the media are clearly preoccupied with his remarks towards women. The Trump campaign is in greater danger than it has ever been, as it faces attacks from both Democrat and Republican politicians calling for him to suspend his campaign.
[Featured Image By Spencer Platt/Getty Images]