Last weekend, a shooter stormed an El Paso Walmart and killed 22 people after spouting the exact same rhetoric that President Donald Trump has used about a supposed “invasion” of immigrants into the United States. This Wednesday on the White House lawn, a reporter confronted Trump about the shared language, and when given the opportunity, Trump totally failed to offer any kind of repudiation of that rhetoric being used for violence. Instead, he re-upped his active and explicit support of the idea that undocumented immigration is a danger and something for Americans to fear, even while there remains essentially no evidence for this stance. Southern border counties have comparatively low crime rates and undocumented immigrants are arrested less than native-born Americans.
When the reporter asked Trump if he had “regret” for using the same language that the shooter did, he essentially indicated that he definitely did not with his lack of explicit response and what he did say instead. He railed:
‘I think that illegal immigration — you’re talking about illegal immigration? I think illegal immigration is a terrible thing for this country. I think you have to come in legally. Ideally you have to come in through merit. We need people coming in because we have many companies coming into our country, they’re pouring in. I think illegal immigration is a very bad thing for our country. I think open borders area a very bad thing for our country, and we’re stopping. We’re building a wall right now, we won the lawsuit in the Supreme Court two weeks ago, the wall is well under construction, it’s being built at a rapid pace. We need that.’
In other words, when confronted with the opportunity to lambast anti-immigrant ideology that was used as an excuse for the murder of almost two dozen people and wounding many more, Trump declined to do so, instead embracing the same ideology yet again.
This seems to be the “real,” unfiltered Trump, as should also be apparent from his ravings on Twitter and his behavior at rallies — no matter the fact that he offered some scripted remarks after the shootings about how the “nation” should condemn white supremacy with “one voice.”
Wildly enough, Trump even pulled from his grab bag of greatest garbage hits while talking with reporters this Wednesday and dragged out his infamous “both sides” argument that he first used to defend those on the white supremacist side after violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. When asked for his stance on the rise of white nationalist terrorism, Trump turned to explicitly citing the supposed threat from Antifa (which has killed all of apparently zero people), and shared:
‘Whether it’s any group of hate, I’m very concerned and I will do something about it.’
To be clear — the Anti-Defamation League reports that in 2018, “Every single extremist killing — from Pittsburgh to Parkland — had a link to right-wing extremism.” White nationalism is the threat, not those who dare to oppose Trump and his allies. There’s no compelling reason to think Trump will stop with his rhetoric in support of their positions anytime soon, though.
Featured Image via screenshot