Last night the God-King gave Congress a big ol’ White Power salute…. (More)
“Trump likes to use anecdotes as evidence”
“But-but-but Squirrel!” some wingnut somewhere howls, “This wasn’t a white power speech. Didn’t you hear him open with a call for civil rights!”
Actually no, I didn’t hear that, because I didn’t watch the speech. I have better ways to get indigestion. But I read it this morning, and it’s true that he started with a fillip to unity:
Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains. Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.
Except this was the God-King’s first mention of the murder of an Indian immigrant by a white supremacist last week in Kansas City. Like the murders at Quebec mosque by a white supremacist last month, the God-King would rather no one noticed, or at least that no one blamed white supremacists. So he mentions them as briefly as possible, if at all. He gave the murder in Kansas City just nine words … and that’s if you include the linking phrase “as well as.”
Contrast that to how he luxuriated in the details of a 2008 murder committed by an immigrant:
Jamiel’s 17-year-old son was viciously murdered by an illegal immigrant gang member, who had just been released from prison. Jamiel Shaw Jr. was an incredible young man, with unlimited potential who was getting ready to go to college where he would have excelled as a great quarterback. But he never got the chance. His father, who is in the audience tonight, has become a good friend of mine.
Trump likes to use anecdotes as evidence for associating violent crimes with illegal immigration, telling stories of victims of homicide by undocumented immigrants. He brought family members of those killed by illegal immigrants as his guest to tonight’s speech. He often talks about the death of Jamiel Shaw Jr., a 17-year-old football star who was killed in 2008 by a gang member who was in the country illegally.
Clearly, stories like this exist. But the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants do not fit Trump’s description of aggravated felons, whose crimes include murder. U.S. Sentencing Commission data show homicides are a small percentage of the crimes committed by noncitizens, whether they are in the United States illegally or not.
The Congressional Research Service found that the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants do not fit in the category of aggravated felons, whose crimes include murder, drug trafficking or illegal trafficking of firearms.
That was just one of 13 howlers that the WaPo fact-checkers found in last night’s speech.
“We’ve looked the other way on this legal immigration”
Trump usually cloaks his anti-immigration rhetoric in security concerns. That was the rationale behind his Muslim ban proposal after the Paris attacks, and then his initial executive order restricting entry from several majority-Muslim countries. It was even present in his speech announcing his presidential run, when he declared, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
But senior members of his team, including Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, have always embraced a comprehensively nationalistic opposition to immigration, on the grounds that it endangers not only Americans’ safety but their economic livelihood. As Bannon said on a radio program with Miller in March 2016, “the beating heart of this problem” is that “we’ve looked the other way on this legal immigration.” The problem isn’t just criminals – it’s any immigrants serving as competition to American workers.
This was the view that Trump expressed in his speech Tuesday night. “Protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration,” he argued. “The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers and puts great pressure on taxpayers.”
Matthews seems to accept that the God-King believes this is about jobs. I don’t. There’s ample evidence that immigrants do not increase U.S. unemployment or depress U.S. wages. And even if they did, that would be a story about employers underpaying vulnerable workers who dare not complain. Employers like, well, the God-King himself. Yes, really.
Like the God-King’s made-up unemployment numbers – the WaPo fact-checkers also note that he counts full-time students, stay-at-home parents, disabled adults, and retirees as “unemployed” – the myth of immigrants taking Americans’ jobs is just more white power nationalistic hooey.
Besides, if a camera had ever caught President Obama holding an upraised fist, we’d still be hearing the echoes of wingnuts screeching “that was a Black Power salute!” Remember the ‘terrorist fist jab’ myth?
And unlike that Fox News flunky, I don’t have to worry that the Faculty Senate might fire or suspend me for calling the God-King’s fist a White Power salute. They’d have to wade into the daily news sewer and write this stuff themselves. So I’m safe.
Plus … I’m right.
Photo Credit: Joe Lo Scalizo (Getty Images)
Good day and good nuts