When a towering figure like Nelson Mandela dies — a revolutionary, an emancipator, South Africa’s first black president, one of the most beloved figures ever in the struggle against not just apartheid, but racism and oppression in all its forms — the most important thing to do is immediately establish, Oh yeah, I totally knew that guy. At least, that’s the route Donald Trump took.
A few hours after Mandela’s death was announced yesterday by South African President Jacob Zuma, Trump took to both Twitter and Instagram, posting a couple inspirational Mandela lines, as well as the picture you see above and a message: “Nelson Mandela and myself had a wonderful relationship—he was a special man and will be missed.”
The mind reels. What do a civil rights icon and a person-shaped Nerf ball who shouts at people on television talk about? Maybe we can dig through each man’s most profound quotes and see what common ground they might have shared, in what was undoubtedly a very deep and totally real friendship:
“Social equality is the only basis of human happiness.” — Nelson Mandela, letter, August 1, 1970.
“Laziness is a trait in blacks.” — Donald Trump, alleged by John R. O’Donnell, former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.
“There must be an end to white monopoly on political power, and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratized.” — Nelson Mandela, speech, 1990.
“If I was starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black because I really do believe they have the actual advantage today.” — Donald Trump, interview with Bryant Gumbel, 1989.
“We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first president of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist government.
We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom
We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.
We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.
Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.” — Nelson Mandela, inaugural address, 1994.
“She does have a very nice figure. … If [she] weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” — Donald Trump on The View, referring to his daughter Ivanka.
Uncanny, right? Like identical twins.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 6, 2013