Rethinking America

Donald Trump and the Guns of August 2019

The U.S. President stokes resentment and hate speech wherever and however he can.

Credit: Gage Skidmore www.flickr.com

Takeaways


  • Trump says he will do something now about gun control, but few people believe him.
  • Trump refutes all assertions that he is dividing the country -- while his language of hate is making targets of all non-white Americans, Muslims and Jews.
  • Trump stokes resentment and hate speech wherever and however he can.
  • US immigration officials, encouraged by Trump, arrested 680 Hispanic immigrants. It was the largest single immigration round-up in history.

Let us recap just how bad things are in the United States this summer of 2019.

Within just a few weeks, President Donald Trump first vilified four non-white female Democratic members of Congress, suggesting that if they wanted to keep criticizing him they “should go back to their countries.”

Next, Trump furiously attacked the black Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives and used vile language to describe the chairman’s home town of Baltimore and the mostly black citizens of the Congressional district he represents.

Then, on one single day, assassins inspired by white nationalist propaganda (including in one case the exact language that Trump has used about immigrants) gunned down a total of 31 people in two events in El Paso, Texas, and in Dayton, Ohio.

Two days later, Trump flew to these cities, despite being told not to come by civic leaders in both cities. He claimed that people loved to see him, as if that was the purpose of his visits. (The press was excluded from almost all his meetings).

On his plane trip back home, he attacked political opponents in both cities, while his close associate on Fox News, commentator Tucker Carlson, echoed what White House officials were saying that white nationalism in this country is “a hoax.”

Immigration raids

The very next day, encouraged by Trump, U.S. immigration officials entered seven poultry factories in a town in Mississippi and arrested 680 Hispanic residents, who allegedly were in the country illegally.

All of those arrested were Hispanic. No effort was made to arrest the factory owners for employing undocumented workers.

It was the largest single immigration round-up in history and it was done in a manner that left up to 150 children is a state of desperation not knowing where their parents were or what had happened.

The immigration officials had also not given any advance notice to the schools or social service organizations and argued afterwards that their sole job is to arrest illegal immigrants.

Donald Trump dutifully stated that the event must serve as a warning to Latin Americans seeking to come to this country.

Booker’s challenge

Speaking the same day at Emanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, some 1,700 miles away from El Paso, Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker challenged Americans to be active, not complacent.

It was in this church that nine black parishioners were shot down by a young white nationalist in 2015.

“We must acknowledge as a country that as much as white supremacy manifests itself in dangerous and deadly acts of terror, it is perpetuated by what is too often a willful ignorance or dangerous tolerance of its presence in our society,” Booker said.

Trump says he will do something now about gun control, but few people believe him. Meanwhile, he refutes all assertions that he is dividing the country, while his language of hate is making targets of all non-white Americans, Muslims and Jews.

Escobar and dignity

Before Trump visited El Paso, the local Congressional representative from the area, Democrat Veronica Escobar, telephoned the White House and asked to speak to the president to brief him on the feelings of local citizens in this border town who were now deeply scared of further attacks.

She wanted to come and talk about healing racial divides and taking “the target off the backs” of Hispanics. The White House told her that the president was too busy to take her call.

Escobar told a reporter from The Washington Post:

This country has had a long and painful journey with racism. It’s only when we stand and we recognize one another for being human beings worthy of dignity, worthy of grace, worthy of love, only when we recognize that in every person — regardless of color, regardless of gender, regardless of who you love and whether you were born on this side or on that side of the river — we will not have redemption until we do that.

Conclusion

But any such words of compassion and wisdom fall on completely deaf ears with Trump and the Republicans. Their only goal is to use racist bait in order to win the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.

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About Frank Vogl

Frank Vogl is co-founder of Transparency International and author of Waging War on Corruption: Inside the Movement Fighting the Abuse of Power. [Washington D.C., United States]

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