Terry H. Schwadron
Jan. 12, 2018
Thankfully, the world is condemning Donald Trump’s vulgar and racist dismissal of immigrants from “shithole countries” rather than drawing more immigrant from “countries like Norway.”
In an instant, Donald Trump showed himself a contemptible public figure, and the source of making America the “laughingstock” he has been accusing investigators of all-things-Russia of having created. In an instant, he threw efforts to address immigration issues, a most serious issue, into a much more complicated pot for resolution. And in an instant, he has inflamed people of color, Democrats and even Republicans who believe in humanism.
After a week of trying to push back against terrible personal attacks against him from the Michael Wolff book that quoted the people around him, Donald Trump has struck again with the worst blow — out of his own mouth.
It came at a White House meeting with several congressmen. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) had suggested allowing immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations, who have been targeted to leave, to remain in this country after a decade and a half of temporary protection status. That prompted the real Donald Trump to disparage these nations as “shithole countries.”
Trump became angry during a conversation about the visa lottery program, which benefits some African countries, and about the temporary protected status afforded to immigrants from certain nations, including El Salvador and Haiti. “Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.”
Rather than a comment about process, this was heard as an out and out racist outburst.
From world capitals, from, across the country, and from immigrant groups themselves, the reaction was to label Trump a racist, demand apologies and to mock the President of the United States. Is this the result he was seeking? Is this making America Great?
Here we had something that even the White House machinery, despite its best efforts, could not squeeze away: Donald Trump is a racist.
What had bothered me perhaps the most was the silence among the official Republican leadership in Washington. But it is starting.
I expect that we will hear more today and in succeeding days about the need to recognize that America only needs immigrants who will build our economy, as if nationality has something to do with that. Trump wants stronger individual vetting of would-be immigrants, not only for terrorism reasons, but to ensure that we are bringing in English-speaking, upwardly aspiring individuals.
It was reported that the president’s comments just left the lawmakers present shocked — again.
How many times do we have to hear this. When are Republicans going to find the wherewithal to stand up and criticize Trump, to denounce his remarks as being against everything that we know American values to cherish. Once again, the super-patriot Trump wants “America” to be great without wanting Americans to be great.
The president has continued to tweet away to push for construction of a Wall on the Southern border costing many billions of dollars, as well as 5,000 additional border police, more technological surveillance, the end of the visa lottery and the practice of “chain” migration, allowing immigrants to sponsor their families. He also has attacked sanctuary cities and threatens to withhold federal monies from them.
Forming a coalition in Congress that can pass on legislation that provides both security — with or without the Wall — a future for 800,000 Dreamer immigrants under the Deferred Action for Children Act, and an outline for wider rules governing immigration has proved a minefield in Congress. Even as several congressmen were meeting with the president, two conservative Republican committee chairmen were introducing their own bill that provides tons of security — and a renewable three-year permission for Dreamers rather than a path to become U.S. citizens.
In two tweets, Trump picked apart the proposed DACA deal as a “big step backwards,” saying that it did not offer enough money for the border wall and did not go far enough toward a “merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level.”
Look, a debate over immigration processes is healthy. But the racist outbursts reflect the nature of the underpinnings.
Those just make me angry. Norwegians should be angry too.