Words Matter

Trump uses an array of ugly language about immigrants. He pretends like he is just talking about MS13 but that is not the case.

Language matters in politics.  It especially matters in cases wherein a leader uses certain kinds of language to activate and motivate supporters.  Trump is constantly using not especially subtle language to denigrate immigrants and to enhance fear about them among his supporters.  He is very clearly tapping into extant xenophobia and actively seeking to grow it. This is dangerous and should not be ignored.  It is also so constant that it is easy to forget what he has said or to ignore what is being said.

And this is not an abstract issue with no human consequences.  There are currently over 2,000 children who have been separated from their parents and are currently in the custody of the federal government.  These children, some of whom are so young as to be pre-verbal, were taken as a means of punishing people for crossing the US border (in many cases, while legally seeking asylum) as well as in hopes of deterring others from attempting such a crossing.  In no uncertain terms, we have to understand that the Trump administration has actively sought to cause the suffering of children (and of their parents) in the hopes of establishing their preferred policy on the US border.  This is not hyperbole.  Anyone reading this who is a parent understands its cruelty.

And while, yes, an executive order has been issued to temporarily halt the practice, it does not change what has been done nor does it prevent more misery in the name of the law being perpetrated in the future.  Further, we still do not have any operative policy in place to reunite the children in custody with their parents.  This is an indefensible horror all in the name of protecting America.

All of this is made possible by a political climate in which the American public is told by the President of the United States that undocumented crossing of the southern border is fundamentally about dangerous criminals entering the US (rather than, far more likely, someone willing to work hard washing dishes, cleaning restrooms, or harvesting crops).

I will note that there are legitimate debates to be had about how to deal with immigration.  But, stoking fear is illegitimate and wrong.

The following are just some examples, many very recent, as to how President Trump speaks about immigrants.  The preponderance of this rhetoric is that he equates immigration across the US-Mexican border as being dominated by crime and threat to US citizens.  The kind of language he constantly uses is why arguments that he was “just” talking about MS13 with his infamous “animals” comment are not persuasive.  Sure, like Bret Stephens argued at the time in the NYT, there is a narrow interpretation in which grammatically one could argue that he was simply referring to MS13, but as the following demonstrates, given his propensity to talk to conflate immigrants with criminals, it is no wonder that it was hard to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.

But, America, the following is quite ugly and history will not look back kindly on this era and on those who reveled in this rhetoric. Words matter, especially when POTUS speaks them.

Here is but a sample of the verbal onslaught the president has unleashed, and that had informed the crisis of his making on our border:

From the announcement of his candidacy:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.

It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably— probably— from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.

He clearly is making “some…good people” the exception, not the rule.  He started his campaign for the presidency declaring that most immigrants were drug traffickers, rapists, and murderers.

If you have not seen him (and I do think it should be watched) read “The Snake” then here is video.  (I also discussed it previously here).  It is, in my opinion, a vile performance.

Recent tweets:

“invade”

“overrun”

Not to mention “phony stories of sadness and grief” (which is a terrible lie in the face of over 2000 children being separated from their parents).

“infest”

And note the clear connection between “illegal immigrants” and “MS-13” and see, again, the “animals” bit I referenced above.

And while I am cautious about making this comparison, but here is a quotations from Mein Kampf:

“In the Jew, however, this attitude is not at all present; for that reason he was never a nomad, but only and always a parasite in the body of other peoples.  That he sometimes left his previous living space has nothing to do with his own purpose, but results from the fact that from time to time he was thrown put by the host nations he had misused. His spreading is a typical phenomenon for all parasites; he always seeks a feeding ground for his race…He is and remains the typical parasite, a sponger who like a noxious bacillus keeps spreading as soon as a favorable medium invites him.”

From Remarks by President Trump at a Lunch with Members of Congress (June 26, 2018) we see more MS13 and crime:  “And what we’re looking for, as Republicans, I can tell you, is strong borders, no crime.  What the Democrats are looking at is open borders, which will bring tremendous crime.  It’ll bring MS-13 and lots of others that we don’t want to have in our country.  It’ll bring tremendous crime.”

A clear equation of immigration and crime. Twice.

“open borders=crime”

This is clearly equating immigrants and criminals.  Not to mention the our current laws are by no means “open borders” and there is no significant legislative movement to which I am aware that calls for open borders.  There is nothing but fear, obfuscations, and ignorance in his approach to this topic.

Also:  one simply cannot blame the Democrats for a bill that the majority of Republicans do not support. I will say that congress, as an institution, is failing in its basic responsibility to govern (but given the way the chambers are structured, especially the House, the lion’s share of the failure belongs, at least right now, to the GOP).

All of this rhetoric flies in the face of the fact that we know that immigrants actually as less likely than non-immigrants to commit crimes (apart, yes, from the act of crossing without documents). Moreover, as alluded to above, these people are almost universally coming from the human drive to improve themselves or their families and typically end up taking physically demanding jobs.

And yes, I do understand that there is criminality at the border, especially in terms of the drug trade. However, most drugs enter intermingling with legal commerce, and the drug trade is in no way affected by the current zero tolerance policies nor does stoking xenophobia help that problem.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Borders and Immigration, Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. MBunge says:

    But, stoking fear is illegitimate and wrong.

    I completely agree. The use of Nazi references toward the Trump Administration is unacceptable.

    Oh, wait. That’s not what you mean. Nor do you mean the money laundering and treason fantasies spun by commenters at this very blog. And I’m not sure why you’re pretending to care about “stoking fear,” given that a sitting member of Congress recently called for mobs of people to publicly harass and physically intimidate members of the Trump Administration and I can’t recall you or this blog giving a fig about that. But maybe I missed that righteous post of fury about Maxine Waters.

    Oh, and…there is no significant legislative movement to which I am aware that calls for open borders.

    The report was issued as some Democrats and advocacy groups have been calling for the abolishment of ICE, an agency created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the abolishment of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/amid-calls-abolish-ice-investigators-knock-agency-s-detention-center-n887901

    That’s making “significant” do an awful lot of work.

    Mike

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  2. @MBunge: Perhaps you could help explain to me why the parallelism I see in the quoted text is not present. And while you are at it, you could help us understand why you are defending the rhetoric and policies in this post.

    Also, ICE does not protect the border, that is U.S. Customs and Border Protection (more here). Hence, abolishing ICE is, not creating open borders. And, for that matter, abolishing ICE would not mean doing away with all its functions. But more important that, it is hard to call what you cite a “significant legislative movement” since it has zero chance of even being debated.

    Like your claim about 4% GDP growth, you are not doing a good job provided solid evidence for your arguments.

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  3. ICE has only existed since about 2002. Any conversation about doing away with it has to do with going back to a different way of dealing with these issues. I would suggest some research if you are going to try and make arguments about this.

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  4. That’s making “significant” do an awful lot of work.

    To me, a legislative proposal can only be considered significant if it has a chance of making to the floor for debate. Or, at least, to have hearings in committee. Anything else is just a suggestion that might be able to get some publicity. There is not going to be any consideration to abolish ICE in this Congress (and even if there was, it would not mean open borders). There sure as high hell not going to be any consideration of open borders.

  5. Warren Weber says:

    Yes, words matter.

    Words like “illegal.” Which is highly significant in this context, as not a single one of Trump’s statements or policies apply to legal immigrants.

    Hell, Trump has married two immigrants, and most of his children are from those two immigrants.

    Once — just once — I’d like to see someone who considers themselves an “immigrant advocate” spare a bit of concern for the legal immigrants. Or to even acknowledge that they exist.

    The illegal immigrants seem to soak up all the concern for the “advocates.”

    Just for grins, I did a CTRL-F on “illegal” in this article. 3 mentions, all quoting Trump. “Undocumented” had one, referring to crossings, not people.

    I think the most insightful observation is this:

    …given his propensity to talk to conflate immigrants with criminals…

    Given the propensity to conflate legal immigrants with illegal immigrants…

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  6. @Warren Weber:

    Once — just once — I’d like to see someone who considers themselves an “immigrant advocate” spare a bit of concern for the legal immigrants.

    If you haven’t seen such, you aren’t doing a very good job of paying attention.

    And yes, I prefer the terms “undocumented” to “illegal.”

    Now that that is out of the way, what is your defense of this rhetoric?

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  7. Warren Weber says:

    Here’s my defense: I reject your thesis as flawed, as Trump has not been “anti-immigrant.” He has been anti-illegal immigrant, and actually been quite pro-legal immigrant in his personal, professional, and political life.

    And you didn’t even use “undocumented” in your original article. Do you not see “documented” vs. “undocumented” as a significant distinction?

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  8. @Warren Weber: That’s not much of a defense, given the evidence provided.

    Xenophobia is xenophobia, even if aimed at those who cross without visas.

    Do you not see “documented” vs. “undocumented” as a significant distinction?

    Not in terms of treating them as human beings, no. I certainly understand the legal context, but that really isn’t the point.

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  9. Hell, let’s pretend I used the term “illegal immigrants” in the whole piece. Trump’s language is still indefensible.

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  10. Oh, and something I should have noted in responding: asylum-seeking is a legal activity.

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  11. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Warren Weber:

    He has been anti-illegal immigrant, and actually been quite pro-legal immigrant in his personal, professional, and political life.

    Nope. He used illegal-immigrants in his business when that was convenient for them and uses demagoguery against both illegal and legal immigrants when that is politically convenient for him.

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  12. Warren Weber says:

    In no particular order:

    1) Asylum-seeking is done at authorized Points of Entry or other locations, not “wherever the authorities find you after crossing illegally.” While hardly proof, it certainly indicates lack of good faith.

    2) Asylum-seekers are supposed to seek their asylum in the first safe nation they enter, and that nation is supposed to offer them asylum. Unless these seekers are Mexicans, they’ve already passed on an opportunity to seek asylum — and in a nation where they share a language and similar culture.

    3) I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve noted that Trump’s native language isn’t English, it’s hyperbole. Personally, I gave up on judging people on their words and looking at their deeds several decades ago.

    Trump has been very specific about differentiating between legal immigrants, who show respect for us and our ways by abiding by the rules we have every right to establish and enforce, and illegal immigrants, who do not. Our hospitality is ours to offer, not for others to take. Especially at the expense of those who are trying to come here legally.

    You brought up the 2,000 children separated from their parents. The last report I saw said there were 12,000 children in custody. Yes, 2,000 were separated from the adults they’d crossed with. The other 10,000 were unaccompanied.

    Under Obama, when the policy (not the law, the policy — the law hasn’t changed in a while) was that parents with children were released after apprehension. That led to a massive wave of child abductions by border-crossers, who’d promptly claim to be the parents, and in quite a few cases of children being exploited (both sexually and otherwise) by those claiming to be their “parents.”

    Trump’s big change was to say “the law is the law, and we’re going to follow it.”

    If some of Trump’s language serves to discourage people from illegally crossing into the US, dragging children hundreds of miles across the desert, all the better. Let them seek out an embassy, a consulate, or a recognized border entry point to apply for asylum — or seek it in Mexico, which is obligated to honor the application.

    Plus, there’s the sheer entertainment value of watching national Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi attempt to make the case that MS-13 gang members are more entitled to being treated with respect and dignity than Trump voters or Christians or NRA members or other large swaths of average Americans.

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  13. Warren Weber says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: Since you say he’s done it so frequently, could you please cite a few examples of Trump’s demagoguery against legal immigrants? I can’t recall any, so I can’t address them properly.

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  14. An Interested Party says:

    The use of Nazi references toward the Trump Administration is unacceptable.

    Perhaps if he didn’t say things that sound like something that Nazis said, the comparison wouldn’t need to be made…but keep polishing that knob, sweetie, I’m sure the MAGA crowd is in love with you…well, some of them probably don’t like the color of your skin, but not everyone can be satisfied…

    Plus, there’s the sheer entertainment value of watching national Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi attempt to make the case that MS-13 gang members are more entitled to being treated with respect and dignity than Trump voters or Christians or NRA members or other large swaths of average Americans.

    When did she do that?

    Oh, and anyone who is offended that people coming over the border are doing something illegal should be sure not to do illegal things themselves, you know, like not paying medical bills…such people have no credibility to talk about the illegal actions of others…

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  15. Warren Weber says:

    It’s been my observation that people who make Nazi comparisons fall into several categories.

    1) Those so stupid that they actually believe it.

    2) Those so insane that they actually believe it.

    3) Those looking exploit 1) and 2) for political gain.

    4) Those looking to shut up others by either putting them on the defensive or so stinking up the place that reasonable people simply assume that the whole conversation is that bad.

    The beauty of that is, none are mutually exclusive. People can fit into multiple categories.

    As for your actual on-subject content, Pelosi said “Does he not believe in the spark of divinity, the dignity and worth of every person? Calling people animals is not a good thing.” I’d be fascinated to hear her express similar sentiments about Americans such as NRA members, Christians, the Koch brothers…

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  16. An Interested Party says:

    Not surprisingly, you’re as disingenuous as your hero…Nancy Pelosi never attempted to make the case that MS-13 gang members are more entitled to being treated with respect and dignity than Trump voters or Christians or NRA members or other large swaths of average Americans…that is a lie…oh, and if you and his other supporters want people to stop comparing him to Nazis, maybe he shouldn’t say so many racist things

    Trump treated black employees at his casinos differently from whites, according to multiple sources. A former hotel executive said Trump criticized a black accountant: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks.”

    He began his 2016 presidential campaign with a speech disparaging Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists.”

    In December 2015, Trump called for a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” including refusing to readmit Muslim-American citizens who were outside of the country at the time.

    Trump said a federal judge hearing a case about Trump University was biased because of the judge’s Mexican heritage.

    In June 2017, Trump said 15,000 recent immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS” and that 40,000 Nigerians, once seeing the United States, would never “go back to their huts” in Africa.

    At the White House on Jan. 11, Trump vulgarly called for less immigration from Haiti and Africa and more from Norway.

    And on and on and on…words do indeed matter…

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  17. Warren Weber says:

    @An Interested Party: So, “Nazi” means “racist” now? I kind of thought that “Nazi” was a bit more involved, tying in some sort of “national socialism” and a whole bunch of other bad things, but it’s just a form of racism now? You learn so much around these parts, and from the most surprising sources…

    But as entertaining as it might be to hear you struggle to define just what “Nazi” means to you and how you think that it applies to Trump (and, I’m sure, me), that’s just another example of how you’re mainly interested in shutting up me (and, I’m sure, others) and not in actually discussing the topic. So I’ll treat your personal attacks the same way the site’s moderators do — I’ll ignore them.

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  18. An Interested Party says:

    So, “Nazi” means “racist” now?

    Oh no, it’s about far more than just racism, as this Holocaust survivor makes clear

    But as entertaining as it might be to hear you struggle to define just what “Nazi” means to you and how you think that it applies to Trump (and, I’m sure, me)

    There’s no struggling and the comparison is with him, not you…

    So I’ll treat your personal attacks the same way the site’s moderators do — I’ll ignore them.

    Oh you poor victim…

  19. rachel says:

    @Warren Weber: You can add this to your little list:

    5) Those who understand Nazis and would-be Nazis.

  20. drj says:

    For those who might think that comparisons between Trump and Nazis are overblown:

    * Trump deliberately creates hostility towards people based on racial characteristics, i.e., not being white.

    * Those that are the subject of Trump’s hostility are simultaneously inferior and subhuman (“animals”) and a major threat to the health (“infest”) of the true American people – or volk, if you prefer.

    * Trump is willing to have the state commit violence against immigrants in a manner that is both needlessly cruel (family separation) and not subject to judicial checks (deportation “with no Judges or Court Cases”).

    * Trump regularly threatens to have the state go after his political opponents (“lock her up”).

    * Trump is constantly trying to undermine the ability of the media to independently report facts (“fake news,” cf. “Lügenpresse in the original German).

    * Trump is an authoritarian who demands absolute loyalty and who sees the world as a zero-sum game.

    * Last but not least, Trump is enthusiastically embraced by actual Nazis, who undoubtedly recognize a kindred soul, while actual Holocaust survivors warn that “it’s happening again.”

    So who are you going to believe, Mbunge and “Warren Weber” or the Holocaust survivor?

    A word of warning, though: historical comparisons like these are not meant to completely identify A with B. So I’m not saying Trump is exactly like Hitler. For the obvious reason that only Hitler was exactly like Hitler.

    Historical comparisons are meant to give a frame of reference or analysis that point us toward other similarities (as well as differences). And on those terms, this particular comparison succeeds: we have indeed seen this before.

    Obviously, we’re not yet at the Endlösung stage, but even Hitler didn’t start off by gassing Jews the moment he came into power – that didn’t commence on a large scale until 1942. The demonizing and the smaller cruelties came first. And that is where we are now.

    Whether this goes any further and, if so, to what point, is for now an open question.

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  21. drj says:

    Adding to my previous comment: there is another interesting parallel between the age of Trump and what we have seen taking place under the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s and 1940s.

    It’s the behavior of the followers. More particularly, the willful self-delusion and ability to forget inconvenient facts at a moment’s notice.

    In Hitler’s Germany, there were, until the very end, firm believers in a final victory, despite the fact that, from 1943 onward, the invincible Wehrmacht “defeated” the enemy ever closer to home.

    Likewise, there are plenty of Trump supporters who simultaneously claim to believe in law and order, that “blue lives matter,” and that it means absolutely nothing that several Trump campaign staffers have been indicted and pled guilty to a wide variety of crimes.

    A more specific example: within the context of a single comment thread our resident Trumpista MBunge argued that it was bad that Bill Clinton won his presidential elections with a plurality of the vote instead of an outright majority, while it was no biggie that Trump won with a minority of the popular vote, because it all went according to the rules.

    That kind of willingness to forget what happened just a few moments before is entirely typical of the totalitarian mindset, as George Orwell once vividly illustrated (1984, part III, ch. 2):

    An oblong slip of newspaper had appeared between O’Brien’s fingers. For perhaps five seconds it was within the angle of Winston’s vision. It was a photograph, and there was no question of its identity. It was THE photograph. It was another copy of the photograph of Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford at the party function in New York, which he had chanced upon eleven years ago and promptly destroyed. For only an instant it was before his eyes, then it was out of sight again. But he had seen it, unquestionably he had seen it! He made a desperate, agonizing effort to wrench the top half of his body free. It was impossible to move so much as a centimetre in any direction. For the moment he had even forgotten the dial. All he wanted was to hold the photograph in his fingers again, or at least to see it.

    ‘It exists!’ he cried.

    ‘No,’ said O’Brien.

    He stepped across the room. There was a memory hole in the opposite wall. O’Brien lifted the grating. Unseen, the frail slip of paper was whirling away on the current of warm air; it was vanishing in a flash of flame. O’Brien turned away from the wall.

    ‘Ashes,’ he said. ‘Not even identifiable ashes. Dust. It does not exist. It never existed.’

    ‘But it did exist! It does exist! It exists in memory. I remember it. You remember it.’

    ‘I do not remember it,’ said O’Brien.

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  22. Ben Wolf says:

    Racism isn’t a first cause. What we typically hear is that it’s just about “white anxiety” or residual racism from the Jim Crow or slavery era, but that explanation also begins with racism rather that tracing its roots. So what is at the heart of what we’re seeing from the President and a significant portion of his supporters?

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Warren Weber: Jeebus save us.

    2) Asylum-seekers are supposed to seek their asylum in the first safe nation they enter, and that nation is supposed to offer them asylum. Unless these seekers are Mexicans, they’ve already passed on an opportunity to seek asylum — and in a nation where they share a language and similar culture.

    Have you been to Mexico lately? Do you consider it safe? As of 2 days ago there were 133 politicians murdered ahead of the Mexican elections. By now there are probably a dozen more. The victims of the drug wars are innumerable and the most vulnerable are migrants. This is the real world not the one you want it to be.

    1) Asylum-seeking is done at authorized Points of Entry or other locations, not “wherever the authorities find you after crossing illegally.” While hardly proof, it certainly indicates lack of good faith.

    They are being stopped by CBP agents short of US territory and not allowed to proceed to authorized Points of Entry. Ergo, they are not being allowed to apply for asylum as prescribed by international law and by treaties the US is a party to. While it certainly indicates a lack of good faith on your part to ignore the actual facts on the ground, it is also proof that your entire argument is BS, that you know it’s BS, and that you don’t care.

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  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Warren Weber: It’s not just people in the U.S. illegally — ICE is nabbing lawful permanent residents too

    It took me longer to type this up than to find the answer to your question, but that says a lot more about your lazy ass than it does about my google-fu.

  25. Warren Weber says:

    We’re getting further and further from the topic (which, I’m sure, is entirely accidental), but this “Trump as dictator” idiocy needs to be addressed.

    If you eliminated the complaints that boil down to “Trump said something mean about someone who attacked him,” you’d lose nearly every single talking point. And if you look at Trump’s actions, you’d have some remarkable counterpoints.

    For example, the separation of children issue that, after going on for years, just suddenly erupted right as the FBI Inspector General’s report came out. In that case, Trump simply said, in effect, “we’re going to enforce the law as it is written. It is not my place to rewrite the law, or decide which laws don’t get enforced.”

    Or, when the travel ban was overruled by a judge, Trump didn’t simply ignore the court’s order. He reworked the order, and when that didn’t work, went through the legal process until the Supreme Court finally ruled that the president can exercise legal presidential powers.

    Which demonstrates a hell of a lot more commitment to the Constitution than Mr. Pen and Phone ever did.

  26. teve tory says:

    speaking of words:

    Children are being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to a country that separated them from their parents

    http://www.businessinsider.com/separated-migrant-children-forced-to-site-the-pledge-of-allegiance-2018-6

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Warren Weber:

    “Calling people animals is not a good thing.” I’d be fascinated to hear her express similar sentiments about Americans such as NRA members, Christians, the Koch brothers…

    Interesting that you think NRA members aren’t people. Same with Christians. I’m kinda with you on the Koch brothers being soulless plutocrats from another planet.

  28. teve tory says:

    The aggressive willingness to deny reality I see in Trump supporters convinces me that any level of fascism up to and including nazi shit can absolutely happen in America. They simply don’t have enough character to put the brakes on it.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @drj:

    So I’m not saying Trump is exactly like Hitler. For the obvious reason that Hitler is dead.

    FTFY, you’ll get my bill in the mail.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ben Wolf: Tribalism is at the core of human behavior.

  31. steve says:

    ” In that case, Trump simply said, in effect, “we’re going to enforce the law as it is written. It is not my place to rewrite the law, or decide which laws don’t get enforced.””

    Which was different than the way he enforced it for the first 400 days of his presidency, and different than how previous presidents, Republican and Democrat, had enforced it.

    ” Since you say he’s done it so frequently, could you please cite a few examples of Trump’s demagoguery against legal immigrants? I can’t recall any, so I can’t address them properly.”

    Re-read the post.

    “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

    Steve

  32. James Joyner says:

    @Warren Weber:

    could you please cite a few examples of Trump’s demagoguery against legal immigrants? I can’t recall any, so I can’t address them properly.

    Hell, Trump argued that an American citizen who had been vetted and confirmed as a federal judge was unfit to preside over his case because he was of Mexican heritage.

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  33. teve tory says:

    Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS.”

  34. Ben Wolf says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That’s not a useful answer, for the very reason I brought up earlier. Shrugging one’s shoulders and saying “tribalism” is equivalent to shrugging and saying “racism.” It’s describing something, not explaining it. We don’t go back to the ancient Greeks and find them arguing that North Africans are naturally, inherently and unalterably inferior to Greeks in the way white America assumes people of color are subhuman.

    Tribalism can be considered as a preference for one’s own kind, but it doesn’t come close, from an historical perspective, to explaining the deep hatred we see in a roughly 20% of the American population.

  35. teve tory says:

    “crime in germany is way up” because of legal refugees.

    (of course, this is a lie)

  36. SenyorDave says:

    Below is a laundry list of Trump birther quotes made over the years. Since the original post is titled “Words Matter”, I would ask MBunge and Warren Weber this question. Does it matter to you that the POTUS pushed the birther poison so hard for so long?

    I always thought the birther stuff was disqualifying on its own. If Trump believed it he was too stupid to be president, or if he was just using it to appeal to the large part of his base that wanted to believe that the first black president was illegitimate, he was too racist to be president. IMO, he was too racist and stupid to be president, but what’s done is done.

    Words matter, and the birther “controversy” said a lot about Trump, as do the quotes about Mexicans, lies and distortions about crime rates and immigrants, both legal and illegal, and his stated preference for a ban on all Muslims. One thing about Trump is consistent – skin color seems big. It always seems as if it dark-skinned people who are the targets of his efforts to keep people out of this country. One would almost think Trump has a problem with people of color.

    Here’s a laundry list of birther declarations Trump made before he tried to put the controversy to rest:
    1. “Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate? There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”
    – March 23, 2011, on “The View”
    2. “He’s spent millions of dollars trying to get away from this issue. Millions of dollars in legal fees trying to get away from this issue. And I’ll tell you what, I brought it up, just routinely, and all of a sudden a lot facts are emerging and I’m starting to wonder myself whether or not he was born in this country.”
    – March 28, 2011, on Fox News
    3. “He doesn’t have a birth certificate, or if he does, there’s something on that certificate that is very bad for him. Now, somebody told me — and I have no idea if this is bad for him or not, but perhaps it would be — that where it says ‘religion,’ it might have ‘Muslim.’ And if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion, by the way.”
    – March 30, 2011, on The Laura Ingraham Show
    4. “I have people that have been studying [Obama’s birth certificate] and they cannot believe what they’re finding … I would like to have him show his birth certificate, and can I be honest with you, I hope he can. Because if he can’t, if he can’t, if he wasn’t born in this country, which is a real possibility … then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.”
    – April 7, 2011, on NBC’s “Today” show
    5. “His grandmother in Kenya said, ‘Oh, no, he was born in Kenya and I was there and I witnessed the birth.’ She’s on tape. I think that tape’s going to be produced fairly soon. Somebody is coming out with a book in two weeks, it will be very interesting.”
    – April 7, 2011, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”
    Note: On April 27, 2011, President Obama made public his long form birth certificate. The Trump campaign in his statement portrayed this as the event that resolved the situation.
    “Having successfully obtained President Obama’s birth certificate when others could not, Mr. Trump believes that President Obama was born in the United States,” Miller said.
    But as the following comments demonstrate, whatever he thought personally, Trump continued to gin up birther issues for years after.
    6. “He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said … He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia … Now they’re saying it was a mistake. Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her, she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.”
    – May 24, 2012, interview with The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove, responding to an erroneous report about Obama
    7. “A lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate. … Many people do not think it was authentic. His mother was not in the hospital. There are many other things that came out. And frankly if you would report it accurately I think you’d probably get better ratings than you’re getting.”
    – May 29, 2012, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer
    8. “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”

    Donald J. Trump

    @realDonaldTrump
    An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.

    4:23 PM – Aug 6, 2012
    19.9K
    31.4K people are talking about this
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    – August 6, 2012, in a tweet more than a year after Obama released his longform birth certificate
    9. “Was it a birth certificate? You tell me. Some people say that was not his birth certificate. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I’m saying I don’t know. Nobody knows.”
    – August 2013, to ABC News
    10. “How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s ‘birth certificate’ died in plane crash today. All others lived.”

    Donald J. Trump

    @realDonaldTrump
    How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived

    5:32 PM – Dec 12, 2013
    12.9K
    15.7K people are talking about this
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    – December 12, 2013, in tweet about the death of Loretta Fuddy.
    11. “Well, I don’t know — did he do it? … Well, a lot of people don’t agree with you and a lot of people feel it wasn’t a proper certificate.”
    -May 2014, in an interview with TV3’s Colette Fitzpatrick in Ireland, Trump first contested whether Obama had released his birth certificate, then questioned whether its legitimacy.
    12. “There are three things that could happen. And one of them did happen. He was perhaps born in Kenya. Very simple, OK? He was perhaps born in this country. But said he was born in Kenya because if you say you were born in Kenya, you got aid and you got into colleges. People were doing that. So perhaps he was born in this country, and that has a very big chance. Or, you know, who knows?”
    – May 27, 2014, in remarks at the National Press Club
    13. “Who knows about Obama? … Who knows, who knows? Who cares right now?… I have my own theory on Obama. Someday I will write a book, I will do another book, and it will do very successfully.”
    – January 6, 2016, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
    14. “I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet … I don’t talk about it anymore. The reason I don’t is because then everyone is going to be talking about it as opposed to jobs, the military, the vets, security.”
    – September 15, 2016, in an interview with The Washington Post.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    We don’t go back to the ancient Greeks

    Ancient Greece maintained a complex relationship with foreigners. That even included foreign deities such as Dionysos—the god of wine, fertility and theatre.[1],[2] Special laws and customs were applied to those foreign-born metics in ancient Athens which amply reflected their lower status in society. Even Pericles, the most powerful man in this Classical city, felt the sting of those laws when they were applied to his lover Aspasia. Understanding the impact of social changes and immigrant issues in early Athens can provide insights into events happening today—as attested by the societal elements in North America and Europe calling for the exclusion of foreign immigrants.

    The Foreigner in Ancient Greece

    The many city-states of ancient Greece largely regarded themselves as separate countries within the Greek world.[3] It was commonly held that a person remained a citizen of the city-state in which they were born, regardless of where they lived later in life. This could be overcome only if one applied for—and was granted—citizenship in a new city. That was often a difficult process and in Athens, for example, it required two separate votes of the people in that city to grant citizenship.[4] How difficult was this? The well-known historian Herodotus lived in Athens for many years but failed to win enough votes so he was not granted citizenship.[5]

    In Athens, foreigners were referred to as metics, from the word métoikos which was the combined form of metá and oîkos—literally meaning “to change dwelling.”[6] Metics could not vote in elections, could not own property, and had to pay a special tax for the privilege of residing there.[7] But in return they were allowed to remain in the city, engage in commerce, work at a profession, and enjoy the free services of Athens, including the many public festivals.[8]

    Hmmmmm, seems the ancient Greeks weren’t immune to tribalism either. I’m sorry you don’t like the answer, but reality rarely conforms to what we wish it was. If your question is now:

    but it doesn’t come close, from an historical perspective, to explaining the deep hatred we see in a roughly 20% of the American population.

    History is full of genocidal hate for the “other”. The Bosnian war and Rwanda are 2 examples you should be very familiar with. Human nature is not that incomprehensible, even if it is at times bugnut crazy.

  38. @Warren Weber:

    I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve noted that Trump’s native language isn’t English, it’s hyperbole.

    This is utter and total bullshit designed to defend xenophobic and racist rhetoric. You have done nothing in this thread except excuse that rhetoric and I can only accept the notion that you support all of this, including the usage of children as pawns.

    That is, to use another loaded word these days (but nonetheless an accurate one), deplorable.

  39. @Warren Weber:

    It’s been my observation that people who make Nazi comparisons

    I would note that I compared Trump’s rhetoric directly to Hitler’s. You task is to tell me how that citation is not apt.

    I did not say Trump is Hitler.

    I did not say Trump is a Nazi.

    I noted, via direct quotes, how his rhetoric sounds very much like the rhetoric Hitler used.

    How am I wrong?

    13
  40. @Warren Weber:

    Since you say he’s done it so frequently, could you please cite a few examples of Trump’s demagoguery against legal immigrants?

    The original Goodlatte Bill, which Trump said he supported, would have cut legal immigration between 40% and 50%, IIRC.

    He rants about chain migration, the usage of the term “anchor baby,” and his railing against the visa lottery are all attacks on legal immigration.

  41. @Steven L. Taylor: (Or, in the case of “anchor babies,” citizens).

    His rhetoric, as others have also demonstrated, is consistently aimed as darker skinned persons (Latin Americans, Haitians, Africans, Middle Easterners) and it really is not carefully parsed into legal and illegal categories.

    Defend it, but own your own position.

  42. teve tory says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Steven L. Taylor says:
    Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 09:48
    @Warren Weber:

    I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve noted that Trump’s native language isn’t English, it’s hyperbole.

    This is utter and total bullshit designed to defend xenophobic and racist rhetoric. You have done nothing in this thread except excuse that rhetoric and I can only accept the notion that you support all of this, including the usage of children as pawns.

    That is, to use another loaded word these days (but nonetheless an accurate one), deplorable.

    “It’s not lies, it’s hyperbole.” No it’s lies dumbass. That’s why 13% of americans consider trump honest and trustworthy. Even half the Crazification Factor knows he’s full of shit. It’s pretty automatic to conclude his hearty defenders are full of shit too.

  43. Warren Weber says:

    Trump also supported a DACA amnesty measure that would have accepted double the number that the Democrats wanted, which is consistent with a “Congress makes the law, not the president” philosophy.

    But why bother bringing that up. No, Trump isn’t Hitler. He’s just very very very much like him. And his supporters are mostly Nazis. Because, as the book says, “Everyone I don’t like is literally Hitler.”

    And let’s be careful to overlook how the side featuring the most fascist tactics — the riots on college campuses against conservative speakers, the masked, black-clad Antifa thugs, the attempted mass assassination of Republican lawmakers, the public harassing of Trump administration officials, the death threats — are mostly coming from the anti-Trump, fascist-hating actual fascists.

    I apologize for disrupting your regularly scheduled “who hates Trump more” competition.

    1
    3
  44. gVOR08 says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    So what is at the heart of what we’re seeing from the President and a significant portion of his supporters?

    First I fail to see why racism can’t be a root cause. However I do see a need for a better vocabulary to describe a phenomenon that ranges from lynching to being a little nervous around a group of black teenagers. We need to distinguish, always, between politicians and voters.

    Republicans generally run on finding cultural differences and exploiting them, since they can’t run on policy. But more importantly, the wannabe autarch needs an enemy, and Trump is using immigrants, Muslims, and dark complected people generally. Besides which there is ample evidence that Trump is and long has been racist.

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    Congress makes the law,..

    You mean the United States Congress that has a majority of Seats filled with REPUBLICANS?

    The same Republicans that have the full support of Supreme Leader and Chairman of the Republican Sex Workers Party “Don’t waste time on immigration” Kim Jong Trump?

    The same Republicans that can’t compromise among themselves to pass anything on immigration even though they have a majority of seats in Congress?

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Warren Weber:

    Trump also supported a DACA amnesty measure

    So why did he cancel it? Or is asking that question evidence of my anti-trump bias? Which I certainly do have.

    Ok ok, I’ll admit it, I just want to see what kind of rhetorical pretzel you can tie yourself into defending the indefensible.

  47. wr says:

    @Warren Weber: Words do matter, so I’m not wasting any refuting J@nos’ obvious trolling.

  48. @wr: His name changes have not improved his skills with argumentation nor improved his ability to deal with evidence.

  49. Something that is noteworthy: neither MBunge, nor WW have refuted anything about my contention (just a blanket “I reject your thesis” is not a refutation). They have said nothing in defense of the 2,000ish children involved. BUT they have defended Trump from the terrible comparison of his rhetoric to a passage from Mein Kampf. Neither showed why the comparison was incorrect. There was no presentation of evidence to back their position.

    They are just mad that I pointed out the rhetorical similarities.

    11
  50. teve tory says:

    “I said, ‘Oh, I am so smart. I am the smartest person.’ My uncle was a great professor at MIT for 40 years. Can you believe? Forty years. I said, ‘But I’m smarter than him. I’m smarter than anybody.'”

    -Donald Trump, 6/27/2018

    If anyone wants verification of that the video is on CNN.

  51. @Warren Weber:

    Trump also supported a DACA amnesty measure

    This is such BS in the sense that the current DACA crisis was wholly created by Trump in the first place.

  52. @Warren Weber:

    But why bother bringing that up. No, Trump isn’t Hitler. He’s just very very very much like him. And his supporters are mostly Nazis. Because, as the book says, “Everyone I don’t like is literally Hitler.”

    I am reminded why I stopped talking to you. You are not intellectually honest and cannot engage a person based on what they said, or what evidence is given to you.

    You clearly have no problem with demonizing illegal immigrants (to use the phrase you prefer).

    You have no problem traumatizing children (after all, they are foreign).

    You have no problem with rhetoric that could come out of Mein Kampf.

    At least be honest about your position.

  53. Scott O says:

    Which US president compared law enforcement agencies to Nazis?
    A Obama.
    B Obama.
    C Obama!
    D That’s fake news. He never said that.
    E And it was hyperbole.
    F And he wasn’t talking about all of them, just the ones that act like Nazis.
    G What he actually said was “Are we living in Nazi Germany?”. Everyone forgets which country and century they’re in from time to time. It’s like forgetting a phone number.
    H Besides, he won, you lost. Get over it already.
    I You know who hates cops? Obama, that’s who. And he hates the troops and the flag and white people.

    2
    1
  54. Matt B says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Further, I would love to hear what “support” is supposed to mean in this case, considering that Trump has repeatedly refused to support, if not actively undermined, any moderate immigration reform legislation being put forward by members of his own party.

  55. @Scott O: Yeah. What about Obama?

  56. @Matt B: Indeed.

  57. teve tory says:

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    @realDonaldTrump
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump

    Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?

    4:48 AM – 11 Jan 2017

  58. teve tory says:

    trump has been so honest and straight-shooting on immigration.

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    @realDonaldTrump
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    More
    HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL, KNOWN AS GOODLATTE II, IN THEIR AFTERNOON VOTE TODAY, EVEN THOUGH THE DEMS WON’T LET IT PASS IN THE SENATE. PASSAGE WILL SHOW THAT WE WANT STRONG BORDERS & SECURITY WHILE THE DEMS WANT OPEN BORDERS = CRIME. WIN!

    5:39 AM – 27 Jun 2018

    that was three days ago. Here is today:

    Donald J. Trump

    Verified account

    @realDonaldTrump
    Follow Follow @realDonaldTrump
    More
    I never pushed the Republicans in the House to vote for the Immigration Bill, either GOODLATTE 1 or 2, because it could never have gotten enough Democrats as long as there is the 60 vote threshold. I released many prior to the vote knowing we need more Republicans to win in Nov.

    12:17 PM – 30 Jun 2018

    He’s totally not a compulsive liar. And his supporters totally don’t humiliate themselves in his defense.

  59. @teve tory: He speaks in “hyperbole” dontcha know.

  60. Mister Bluster says:

    Hyperbole

    But then, of course, it was too late. . .
    The garbage reached across the state,
    From New York to the Golden Gate.

    Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
    Would not take the garbage out!
    She’d scour the pots and scrape the pans,
    Candy the yams and spice the hams,
    And though her daddy would scream and shout,
    She simply would not take the garbage out.
    And so it piled up to the ceilings:
    Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
    Brown bananas, rotten peas,
    Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
    It filled the can, it covered the floor,
    It cracked the window and blocked the door
    With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
    Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
    Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel,
    Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
    Pizza crusts and withered greens,
    Soggy beans and tangerines,
    Crusts of black burned buttered toast,
    Gristly bits of beefy roasts. . .
    The garbage rolled on down the hall,
    It raised the roof, it broke the wall. . .
    Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
    Globs of gooey bubble gum,
    Cellophane from green baloney,
    Rubbery blubbery macaroni,
    Peanut butter, caked and dry,
    Curdled milk and crusts of pie,
    Moldy melons, dried-up mustard,
    Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
    Cold french fried and rancid meat,
    Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
    At last the garbage reached so high
    That it finally touched the sky.
    And all the neighbors moved away,
    And none of her friends would come to play.
    And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said,
    “OK, I’ll take the garbage out!”
    But then, of course, it was too late. . .
    The garbage reached across the state,
    From New York to the Golden Gate.
    And there, in the garbage she did hate,
    Poor Sarah met an awful fate,
    That I cannot now relate
    Because the hour is much too late.
    But children, remember Sarah Stout
    And always take the garbage out!

    Thank You Shel Silverstein RIP

  61. An Interested Party says:

    I apologize for disrupting your regularly scheduled “who hates Trump more” competition.

    Yes because the Orange Toddler is, much like you, a victim…you poor dears…

    You know who hates cops? Obama, that’s who. And he hates the troops and the flag and white people.

    Perhaps you should seek him out and make a citizen’s arrest…I mean, if he really is that hateful…

    By the way, it’s a very apt comparison to talk about the Orange Toddler and Fascism

  62. teve tory says:

    @An Interested Party: I think Scott was joking.

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott O: No, he just hates you.

  64. Scott O says:

    @teve tory: He was.

  65. An Interested Party says:

    I think Scott was joking.

    You never can tell these days…we have a few commentators and probably a few more lurkers who would agree whole-heartedly with that parody and wouldn’t see it as a joke at all…

  66. @An Interested Party: The first time I read it, I thought he was serious, too. It is hard to know at times.