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Former Tallahassee Mayor Takes On President Trump In New Book

woman sitting at desk with arms outstretched

Dot Inman-Johnson charges the president's appeal to white supremacists recalls the Jim Crow era.

A past city commissioner and mayor of Tallahassee has written a new book. It's a pointed critique of the Trump administration.
Dot Inman-Johnson was Tallahassee's first black female mayor. She admitted she's seen many historic developments in the course of her long career in politics and community activism. But two events, she said, were totally unique and transformative.

"One was the election of the first Black president. The second was the complete takeover of our democratic government in a democracy by an autocratic president with the complicity of the Senate and sometimes the Supreme Court."

That's in addition to a significant portion of the American electorate. Inman-Johnson had already written one incisive analysis; a book entitled Policy, Politics and Race in America. So her soon-to-be-released book: 45 And the GOP's Record of Corruption seemed a logical extension of her previous work.

"I am probably a person who is old enough to have seen what it was like back in the Jim Crow era of my childhood in the 50s and 60s and how it compares to what we are seeing today under the Trump administration."

Growing up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, Inman-Johnson was well aware of imbedded racism on the part of local and state governments. But she said this is the first time an American president has openly advanced a white supremacist world view as national policy.

"Here in the Trump era, any people of color, whether they are Black or Hispanic or Asian, are treated with the same disdain and hatred and divisiveness as Black people were back in my childhood."

And for supporters of the president who say he never advocates such things overtly, Inman-Johnson referenced former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. In his recent book Disloyal, Cohen explained the technique of unspoken assent.

"Trump doesn't have to say, 'Go out and shoot somebody,' or as in Michigan, 'Go and kidnap the governor and hold her hostage and subject her to a trial.' All he has to do is rubber stamp their rhetoric but not denying it and continuing to make statements that tend to be complicit with it."

But Inman-Johnson insisted that Donald Trump certainly didn't ascend to the presidency alone. The majority of Republicans, including those in Congress, backed and continue to back him. Which is why she applauds one particular group of Republicans.

"I am happy with the Lincoln Project and I mentioned them in the book because they are among the people of good will who are trying to recapture our democracy before it's too late. And this has been a very frightening time for me!"

But Inman-Johnson said that fear is dissipating as Election Day draws closer.

"I am pleased at what I'm seeing as we go into November third. I was extremely afraid when I first starting writing this book. I feel more hopeful before the election."

45 and the GOP's Record of Corruption, a pull-no punches title and book from former Tallahassee City Commissioner and Mayor Dot Inman-Johnson.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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