Eminem has repeatedly gone after Donald Trump in the year-plus since his inauguration. He’s led a crowd in chanting “Fuck Trump!”, dubbed him a racist in a vicious freestyle, and just this past week, he was quoted as saying, “a fucking turd would be a better president”. And yet, Trump, notoriously thin skinned, has resisted responding to Eminem.
The reason? Trump’s voting base overlaps with Eminem’s fan base, and many surmise Trump is hesitant in alienating the few supporters he has left. It probably also helps that Eminem is white. (For his part, Eminem has told fans to pick a side. “At the end of the day, if I did lose half my fan base, then so be it, because I feel like I stood up for what was right and I’m on the right side of this,” he was quoted as saying this week.)
Compare this to Trump’s response to JAY-Z, a black rapper, who appeared on Van Jones’ CNN interview series on Friday night. JAY-Z, an actual self-made billionaire, didn’t throw fifth-grade insults Trump’s way. Instead, he gave the type of thoughtful, well-reasoned responses you’d expect from the leader of the free world. “It’s disappointing and hurtful,” JAY-Z responded when asked about Trump’s recent comments referring to African countries as “shithole countries.”
“But this has has been going on, this is how people talk behind close doors,” JAY-Z added. He went on to reference Donald Sterling, the former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who was caught making racist comments. “And they took his team from him. And that’s one way to do it, but another way would have been to let him have his team and let’s talk about it together. Because once you do it, all the other closet racists just run back into the hole, you haven’t fixed anything. What you’ve done is spray perfume on a trashcan. And when you do that… you create a superbug, because you don’t take care of the problem. You don’t take the trash out, you just keep spraying over it to make it acceptable. And as those things grow, you create a superbug, and now we have Donald Trump, the superbug.”
JAY-Z was also asked if Trump’s problematic comments are worth overlooking because of America’s strong economy. “To give him a little bit of credit too, he is somebody who is now saying, look, I’m growing – I’m dropping black unemployment,” Jones remarked. “Black people are doing well under my administration… He may say terrible things, but putting money in our pockets. Does that make him a good leader?”
“No because it’s not about money at the end of the day,” Jay-Z answered. “Money is not — money doesn’t equate to happiness. It doesn’t. That’s missing the whole point. You treat people like human beings, then — that’s the main point.”
“It goes back to the whole thing, you going to treat me really bad and pay me well. It’s not going to lead to happiness. It’s going to lead to, again, the same thing,” JAY-Z added.
Again, compare what JAY-Z said about Trump to what Eminem has said. Surely, the one more deserving of a response from the president is the one who referred to him as inferior to a turd?
Well, on Sunday morning, Trump loaded up Twitter… and responded to JAY-Z. “Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!” he tweeted. Beyond the fact that Trump’s tweet is factually inaccurate, he also appears to ignore the main crux of JAY-Z’s argument — that a strong economy is meaningless if the people benefiting from it still feel like second class citizens. But JAY-Z’s black, so what does he know?