The God-King’s speech to Long Island cops wasn’t about crime. It was about race. (More)

“These are animals”

So declared the God-King yesterday in a speech to Long Island cops. His followers will, of course, insist he meant only the Salvadoran street gang MS-13, whose existence he blamed on President Obama despite the fact that MS-13 dates back to the Reagan administration. But it’s crystal clear that the God-King was using MS-13 as a proxy for all Hispanic immigrants:

It is the policy of this administration to dismantle, decimate and eradicate MS-13 at every other – and I have to say, MS-13, that’s a name; rough groups – that’s fine. We got a lot of others. And they were all let in here over a relatively short period of time. Not during my period of time, believe me. But we’re getting them out. They’re going to jails, and then they’re going back to their country. Or they’re going back to their country, period.

The problem: most MS-13 members in the U.S. are natural-born citizens. Their parents or grandparents immigrated from El Salvador, and the gang took root back in El Salvador when members from the U.S. were deported, starting in the 1990s. In short, MS-13 aren’t “importing” crime to the U.S.; we exported MS-13 to Central America.

But that speech wasn’t really about crime. It was about race, as Vox’s Dara Lind explains:

Back in 2015, Donald Trump launched his journey toward the presidency by winning surprising support for a single, powerful theme: Unauthorized immigrants are dangerous criminals who are invading America and coming for your family.

Trump’s concern with immigration has always primarily been with crime. He won early political allies in Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona and the “Angel Moms” whose children were killed by unauthorized immigrants. The vision of America promulgated in his most important speeches – his more-Nixonian-than-Nixon speech accepting the Republican nomination, his “American carnage” inauguration address – is unusually dark for a successful politician in this country. In Trump’s rhetoric, America was no longer great not because it was in some graceful decline, but because it was under siege from the forces of disorder: unlawful immigrants and lawless protesters.

When in doubt, bash the brown-skinned people. In the 1980s, when he was running his real estate empire into bankruptcy, he bought full-page ads in all four New York City newspapers calling for the execution of the Central Park Five. Those five young men were accused, convicted, imprisoned, and later exonerated by DNA evidence and the confession of the actual rapist. Yet the God-King still insisted they were guilty.

Indeed yesterday he advocated more violent police tactics:

When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’

Irony Alert: Suffolk County’s last police chief was convicted in federal court after encouraging his officers to ruthlessly beat a suspect.

Not-Irony Alert: The Suffolk County cops applauded the God-King’s call for violence, although the department’s official Twitter feed quickly rejected it:

Civil rights groups were not reassured:

Zeke Johnson, senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA, said Trump’s “inflammatory and hateful speech will only escalate tensions between police and communities,” putting both officers and civilians at risk.

“Police cannot treat every community like an invading army, and encouraging violence by police is irresponsible and reprehensible,” he said.

Vanita Gupta, who headed the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under former President Barack Obama, said Trump’s remarks were “unconscionable” and undermined the positive efforts of local law enforcement to build up community trust.
“The president of the United States, standing before an audience of law enforcement officials, actively encouraged police violence,” Gupta said. “We call on the president to immediately and unequivocally condemn police brutality. We can all respect our law enforcement officers without sanctioning unjust and illegal behavior.”

But the wingnut right has been calling immigrants “an invading army” for years, and the alt-right (under the rubric Alt-Christian) “Reconquista” narrative is all about race:

Fundamentally, the Alt-Christian has three main aims. The first is to support the universal spread of a culturally robust, socially potent, and morally orthodox creedal Christianity both in the West and globally, as commanded by Christ Himself. Second is the resurgence of this form of Christianity in the West, which the Alt-Christian believes is the key to the renewal of Western Civilization. And finally third, the Alt-Christian aims to support ethno-ideological nationalism – essentially, ethnic groups, in their own nation-states, who are bound together not only by ethnicity but also by a common ideology, culture, and moral code – which he believes is critical to preserving orthodox Christian nations that can serve to promote Christianity worldwide.

Yes, that really is a call for “ethno-ideological” cleansing, purging the U.S. – which they insist was founded as a white, Christian nation – of anyone who doesn’t fit their “common ideology, culture, and moral code.”

And sadly, too many cops share that white supremacist worldview. A recent Pew Research survey found that 80% of cops – including 92% of white cops – believe the U.S. “has made the changes needed to give blacks equal rights with whites.” That same survey found that only 48% of Americans overall and only 57% of white Americans agree.

So no, yesterday’s speech wasn’t really about crime. It was the God-King returning to his lifelong base: white supremacy … enforced at gunpoint by “rough guys” who traded in their white sheets for badges.

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Photo Credit: Spencer Platt (Getty Imates)

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Good day and good nuts