Donald Trump made a trip to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California, in May. Photo: DonaldTrump

Donald Trump not shy with invoking race when it comes to tribes

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has shocked the media, Democrats and even some of his opponents with outlandish statements about immigrants, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and President Barack Obama.

But Trump's insensitivity comes as no surprise to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe of New York. In 2000, he financed a shady advertising campaign that accused the Mohawks of being criminals by associating them with drugs.

"Are these the new neighbors we want?” the ads stated, for which Trump later apologized to the state's lobbying commission for not disclosing that he financed them. He started the campaign because he didn't want the tribe to open a casino in the Catskills region.

"It has been no secret that for the past 12 years, Donald Trump has been actively opposed to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s efforts to build a casino in the Catskills since such an enterprise would rival his Atlantic City interests," then chief Lorraine M. White said in 2008 when yet another one of the tribe's Catskills deals fell through and Trump's name surfaced.

The Foxwoods Resort Casino, owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut, as seen in 2009. Photo: Eigenes Werk

Trump isn't shy about bringing up race in public either. During testimony on Capitol Hill in 1993, he said the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut, the owners of what was at the time the largest casino in the world, of not being authentic.

"Well, you go up to Connecticut, and you look," Trump told the House Subcommittee on Native American Affairs on October 5, 1993. "Now, they don't look like Indians to me."

Trump also accused tribes of being incapable of regulating their casinos. He claimed the Indian gaming industry was going to be overrun by organized crime, a charge that hasn't panned out.

"But to sit here and listen as people are saying that there is no organized crime, that there is no money laundering, that there is no anything, and that an Indian chief is going to tell Joey Killer to please get off his reservation is almost unbelievable to me," Trump said.

The Twenty-Nine Palms Band owns and operates the Spotlight 29 Casino in Coachella, California. The facility was once known as Trump 29 Casino until the tribe ended its relationship with Donald Trump earlier than expected. Photo: Elite Construction

Despite his vitriol, Trump later got in bed with tribal casinos. His record, though, was spotty -- the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians in California ended its relationship with the mogul after just three years.

"Is Donald THAT hard to get along with??" the Original Pechanga Blog asked.

Trump is leading the field of Republican candidates, according to polls.

Get the Story:
Trump’s Instinct for Racially Charged Rhetoric, Before His Presidential Bid (The New York Times 8/1)

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