After a full week of Donald Trump displaying his racist taunts at four Democratic congresswomen – Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-OH), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) – all of whom are black and brown women and two of whom are Muslim, he decided to get a photo op with refugees who have fled their countries over religious persecution.
“I don’t think any president has taken it as seriously as me,” Trump said of protecting religious freedoms abroad.
A Rohingya man asks Trump whether there is a plan to help them survive religious violence in Myanmar.
Trump: “and where is that exactly?”https://t.co/FROmbmwWLK
— Greg Jaffe (@GregJaffe) July 18, 2019
The meeting was a play for his evangelical base, who insist that Christians are persecuted all over the world, as well as an attempt to save face after his bugle call of racism and xenophobia on Twitter. One of the refugees who is currently living in Germany, a country Trump has berated publicly for taking in refugees, asked Trump what his plans were for Rohinga, where Muslims have been the victims of targeted violence and discrimination for decades.
Trump, who had just told the group that he takes religious persecution “more seriously” than any other president before him, responded to the man by saying, “where is that?”
The Washington Post reports that:
‘The event came as the president has been eager to shore up support among evangelical conservatives ahead of his reelection campaign. While Pence, Pompeo and Brownback have spoken out forcefully, Trump has been less vocal in some instances.
‘Trump also had not publicly spoken about atrocities in Myanmar, where up to half a million Rohingya were displaced and thousands killed by the Buddhist majority and government troops in what a top U.N. official called “genocide.”’
Last night, I was with @IlhanMN when we heard people at Trump's rally were chanting “send her back."
She was unfazed. Sadly, she said, this racism isn't new.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 18, 2019
It’s bad enough that Trump has so little understanding of geography, but why didn’t his aides prepare him for the meeting ahead of time? Of course, it’s possible that they did and that he simply didn’t bother to listen. It may have also truly been a lack of preparation, though, as the meeting was not planned and seemed to be a spur of the moment opportunity to cover his racism and the racist chants by his North Carolina crowd, who yelled “send her back” in reference to Omar, an American citizen and democratically-elected congresswoman. Trump denounced the chant the next day, but he certainly didn’t seem to mind it on Wednesday night.
‘The meeting, which was not listed on Trump’s public schedule, also included a member of the Rohingya Muslim group in Myanmar, a Tibetan from China, a Jewish Holocaust survivor and a member of the Yazidi, a Kurdish ethnic group in Iraq, as well as Christians from North Korea, Iran and other nations.’
In a widely circulated clip, a Rohingya refugee asked Trump what his plan was to help the Rohingya refugees in Myanmar.
Trump's response: "Where is that exactly?" https://t.co/cmsR6WD8bB
— Yangon Informer (@YangonInformer) July 18, 2019
Trump gave a speech ahead of the photo op, telling the religious refugees that our rights “came from God,” and saying that America has “always” understood this. American history, however, shows that our country’s founders never understood that God intended for black and brown people to have rights, as well, or women.
‘In America we’ve always understood that our rights come from God, not from government…I don’t think any president has taken it as seriously as me.’
"The earliest example of the pattern came at the outset of the Trump administration, when courts across the country blocked implementation of the president’s travel ban, citing, among other things, anti-Muslim remarks by Trump and others around him." https://t.co/JOWIjc3pkF
— Matthew Grady (@matthewjgrady) July 17, 2019
Featured image screenshot via video