* This piece was posted on November 29, 2019.
If you hate Donald Trump, it is really quite understandable. The print, electronic, and broadcast media have worked with relentless passion and purpose to remind you, as frequently as possible, of the many objectionable statements and damnable positions that allegedly are part-and-parcel of Mr. Trump’s political track record.
When the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzed how The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and the newscasts of CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC had covered President Trump during his first 100 days in office, it found that their coverage was 80% negative and 20% positive. The corresponding figures for the first 100 days of the three previous presidencies were in a completely different universe: Barack Obama, 41% negative vs. 59% positive; George W. Bush, 57% negative vs. 43% positive; and Bill Clinton, 60% negative vs. 40% positive.
For data collected over longer time periods, we can turn to the Virginia-based Media Research Center (MRC), which has conducted numerous comprehensive analyses of exactly how the press has covered Trump from the time of his 2016 presidential campaign to the present day. Most notably, MRC has examined how often the three major television networks—ABC, NBC, and CBS—have aired stories portraying Trump and/or his policies in either a positive or negative light. These MRC studies tally “evaluative statements which impar[t] a clear positive or negative tone to the story, such as statements from experts presented as non-partisan, voters, or opinionated statements from the networks’ own reporters.” Neutral statements are not factored into the equation; nor are soundbites from openly partisan political operatives or spokespeople who merely parrot a predictable party line. As a result of MRC’s research, we know precisely the ratio of negative-to-positive news reports that have been devoted to President Trump.
During the three-plus months between late July 2016 and Election Day in early November of that year, the ABC, NBC, and CBS evening newscasts included 726 negative statements about Trump, vs. 95 positive statements—a ratio of 88% negative to 12% positive. And Trump hadn’t even been elected yet.
Things really heated up during Trump’s first calendar year in office—from his January 20, 2017 inauguration through December 31, 2017—when the three network evening newscasts devoted an astounding total of 99 hours and 3 minutes of airtime to 3,430 stories focusing either on President Trump or his administration. Most of these were stories designed to shred the president and his reputation. As MRC reported: “Our analysts catalogued 5,883 evaluative statements about the President or his administration from either reporters, anchors or non-partisan sources such as experts or voters. Only about 10% of those comments (617) were positive, compared with 5,266 (90%) which were negative — an unparalleled level of media hostility for a President in his first year in office.”
2018 brought more of the same, as the three evening network newscasts devoted almost 87 hours of coverage to the Trump presidency. The tone of that coverage, said MRC, remained “incessantly hostile: 90% negative, vs. just 10% positive.”
And 2019 has been no different. As Brent Bozell of MRC wrote this past June: “Month after month going back to the start of his campaign, without interruption, [Trump’s] coverage on evening newscasts has hovered around 90% negative.” During the seven-week period from the September 24th launch of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry through November 12th, the coverage of Trump was even more hostile than normal: Out of 684 evaluative comments that were made on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, reports NewsBusters.org, 96% were negative and 4% were positive. In other words, the average American viewer virtually never heard even a single positive whisper about President Trump or his policies. Never.
One of the earliest flurries of condemnation that media outlets nationwide aimed at Donald Trump occurred in November of 2015—a full year prior to the 2016 presidential election—when myriad headlines and news stories reported that then-candidate Trump, during a political rally in South Carolina, had callously mocked the disability of a physically handicapped New York Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski. You can probably recall hearing about how Trump, in front of a large crowd of supporters, had waved his arms and hands spasmodically to mimic the herky-jerky movements of the reporter, while also adopting a vocal cadence that suggested incoherence and abnormality.
The Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and Politico all ran headlines stating, “Trump Mocks Disabled Reporter.” A Chicago Tribune caption blared: “Trump Mocks New York Times Reporter with Disability.” And a New York Times headline called it “Mockery, Plain and Simple.” Similar headlines were splashed across the front pages of countless other publications from coast to coast.
Not surprisingly, a large number of congressional Democrats joined the news media in eviscerating Trump for his bad manners and childish intemperance. Some examples:
Hollywood, too, was filled with people outraged by Trump’s indelicacies.
The Clintons, Harkin, Waters, Streep, and Fox had plenty of company in the revulsion they felt regarding Trump’s insensitive antics. In a Bloomberg News poll taken just a few weeks before the 2016 election, likely voters who were asked to identify what bothered them most about Mr. Trump, cited his mockery of the disabled reporter more often than anything else.
There’s just one stubborn little fact, however, which probably merits at least a passing mention at this point: Not a single word regarding Trump’s mockery of a reporter’s physical disability, was true. Not a syllable. Not a breath. The entire story was a carefully and maliciously fabricated lie. Not an exaggeration. Not a distortion. A Lie, with a capital “L.”
You see, Serge Kovaleski, the disabled reporter in question, does not suffer from Parkinson’s Disease or anything even remotely resembling it. He suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that limits the movement of his joints and has caused his right hand to be permanently frozen in place, sharply angled at the wrist. He does not wave either of his arms around involuntarily when he talks. Quite the opposite: his right arm is actually rigid and motionless. Moreover, he speaks with a perfectly normal cadence, bearing no resemblance whatsoever to Trump’s presentation.
Trump was not mocking Kovaleski for his disability. He was mocking Kovaleski for appearing to back away, for fear of public criticism, from something which he had reported some years earlier. The gestures and cadence that Trump’s critics objected to, are simply Trump’s way of mimicking anyone who seems to be flustered or fearful when confronted with certain discomfiting facts. Indeed, with just a little bit of research, anyone who actually had an interest in knowing the truth could have learned that Trump, on a number of other occasions, had used those same gestures and affectations to mock people who were not physically handicapped in any way. Those targets included, among others, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, Democrat consultant Donna Brazile, Obama-era military generals, and certain American bank executives. In fact, there is even video footage of Trump mocking himself in a similar, self-deprecating manner.
The certitude with which Trump’s critics have falsely and slanderously condemned the president for making fun of Kovaleski’s handicap, calls to mind a trenchant observation that the late Ronald Reagan once made: “The trouble with our Liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.” And this, of course, begs an important question: Might some other articles-of-faith regarding Trump’s alleged character flaws be untrue as well?
It is almost impossible to watch a major television network news broadcast, or read a major newspaper, or even view a late-night comedy program on TV, without hearing or seeing something about what a crooked, incompetent, scheming, deranged, misogynistic, Islamophobic, xenophobic, sociopathic, fascistic, ignorant racist Mr. Trump is. These media portrayals of Trump are very much in line with how Hillary Clinton famously described Trump’s backers in a speech at a September 2016 political fundraiser in New York City, where she said: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he [Trump] has lifted them up.”
It would not be possible, of course, to unpack and evaluate all of the countless thousands of charges accusing Trump of various moral deficiencies like those enumerated by Mrs. Clinton. Thus, let us restrict our focus, for now, to the most noteworthy charges of “racism” that have been leveled at the president. What we learn about the veracity—or inveracity—of those particular charges, will teach us a great deal about how much, or how little, credence we should give to the other accusations. Below are just a few examples of Trump’s critics characterizing him as a racist:
To “prove” their assertion that Mr. Trump is a racist, the president’s accusers are invariably armed with a lengthy list of supposedly bigoted remarks which he has made. To help the American public focus on the most highly objectionable of those remarks, New York Times writers David Leonhardt and Ian Prasad Philbrick have published a significant article—which they update periodically—titled “Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List.”
Not surprisingly, this Times piece cites, among many other things, the allegedly racist remarks that Trump made in the aftermath of the infamous August 12, 2017 “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. In terms of laying bare the modus operandi by which Trump has routinely been painted as a racist, Charlottesville is the Rosetta Stone.
First, a bit of context: The Charlottesville event was originally organized for the very explicit purpose of protesting the proposed removal, from a local park, of an equestrian statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. According to various reports, the protesters were composed of two very distinct and dissimilar contingents of people: (a) aggressive and hateful white supremacists with neo-Nazi sympathies, and (b) others who had no racial or anti-Semitic animus and simply wished to voice their disapproval regarding the Lee statue’s removal. The former contingent was personified by the members of a group called Identity Evropa, who chanted white nationalist slogans like “You will not replace us.” The latter contingent consisted of people like Michelle Piercy, a Kansas resident who made the long drive to Charlottesville with a conservative group that was in favor of leaving the Lee statue in place. As a New York Times piece noted, Ms. Piercy made it clear that she and her companions “had no interest in standing with Nazis or white supremacists.” It is difficult to ascertain with any precision the relative numbers of people in each contingent.
Meanwhile, a large group of counter-protesters likewise included two very distinct and dissimilar contingents: (a) those who supported the statue’s removal and wished to make their feelings known in a nonviolent public forum, and (b) hundreds of people who were affiliated with Antifa, a revolutionary Marxist/anarchist militia movement.
Some background information about Antifa is necessary at this point.
On the morning of Saturday, August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, the most radical and combustible elements on both sides of the Lee statue debate began to engage in violence against one another. By noon—at which time the rally was scheduled to begin—both the City of Charlottesville and the Governor of Virginia had declared a state of emergency due to the “imminent threat” of potential injuries and property destruction, and police cleared the scene of all persons. Then, at about 1:40 p.m., a deranged white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters who were still in the vicinity, killing one white woman and injuring numerous other people. President Trump issued a brief statement later that same day, followed by additional remarks over the course of the ensuing three days. Those remarks sent the Left into a frenzy of vitriolic outrage. Just a few examples:
What, exactly, did President Trump say to elicit such responses? Did he in fact voice sympathy or support for neo-Nazis and racists? Let’s examine the evidence, piece by piece.
Just hours after the deadly violence of August 12, Trump issued a short statement saying: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides—on many sides. It’s been going on for a long time in our country. Not Donald Trump. Not Barack Obama. It’s been going on for a long, long time.”
The following day—August 13—a White House spokesperson issued a follow-up statement: “The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”
The day after that—August 14—President Trump made a televised statement in which he said:
“No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God. We must love each other, show affection for each other, and unite together in condemnation of hatred, bigotry, and violence. We must rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as Americans.
“Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans…. Those who spread violence in the name of bigotry strike at the very core of America.”
Hmmm…. So where, exactly, was the “racism” to which the aforementioned news sources were objecting? Don’t feel too badly if you missed it. Because in order to have seen it, you’d have to really have wanted to see it, even if you had to twist the meaning of Trump’s words inside-out in the process. What the critics found most objectionable was that Trump, by using the phrase “on many sides” on August 12, had chosen not to restrict his condemnation solely to the detestable white supremacists in Charlottesville, but had also placed some blame at the feet of the equally detestable Marxist/anarchist Antifa counter-protesters.
And that, to Trump’s critics, was unacceptable. As CNN anchor Don Lemon put it: “There is a difference between the two groups: one is a Nazi supremacist group. What they want to do and in their hearts is extinguish … Jewish people, black people, even women…. The other [Antifa] is a protest group protesting a political and a racist movement. I’m not saying that group [Antifa], all of their tactics were right, but they were there protesting hate in America.” In other words, even though Antifa is firmly, candidly, and proudly committed to the use of violence to promote Marxism and anarchism across the United States, Mr. Lemon was content to dutifully and compliantly characterize the thugs of Antifa as noble-spirited opponents of “hate” and “fascism.”
Then, on August 15, President Trump held a televised press conference where he spoke at greater length about the events of August 12 in Charlottesville. Below is a compilation of all the relevant remarks which he made to the reporters:
Also during his August 15 press conference, Trump asserted that on the University of Virginia campus on Friday night, August 11—some fourteen hours prior to the scheduled start of the infamous August 12 rally—there had been another group of “people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee.” Critics subsequently castigated Trump for saying this, in light of the fact that many of those in the Friday-night crowd had loudly shouted anti-Semitic slogans and engaged in physical violence when confronted by counter-protesters. But the president never suggested that all of the Friday-night marchers had been “quiet” and cool-headed. Indeed, his very next sentence was this: “I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones.”
Above all else, following the August 15 press conference, Trump’s detractors zeroed in mainly on his assertion that there had been “blame on both sides,” as well as some “very fine people on both sides,” at the site of the August 12 protest. These grievances against Trump have persisted undiminished through the two-plus years since Charlottesville.
It would be difficult to conceive of a more dishonest, deceitful characterization of Trump’s comments, than what O’Rourke and Biden claim in the quotes above.
Trump explicitly, unmistakably, and repeatedly denounced “neo-Nazis,” “KKK,” “white supremacists,” and “white nationalists”—by name—in the course of his remarks on August 14 and August 15, 2017. He openly described them as “rough, bad people” who “should be condemned totally.” Nevertheless, it is quite evident that his critics very much want—and very much need—to believe that the president somehow endorsed the racist impulses of such human filth. For without willfully misrepresenting what Trump so clearly said, it would be impossible to read racism into his remarks.
It is equally impossible for any honest observer to read anti-Semitism—yet another defining hallmark of neo-Nazis—into Trump’s post-Charlottesville comments. But this has not prevented the president’s critics from accusing him of precisely that offense. A Vox.com piece, for instance, notes that among those who attended the “Unite The Right” rally were such despicable characters as Mike ‘Enoch’ Peinovich, “founder of the neo-Nazi podcast The Daily Shoah (an insulting reference to the Holocaust)”; “internet figure and noted anti-Semite Baked Alaska”; “fellow anti-Semite and Daily Shoah contributor Johnny Monoxide”; “neo-Nazi Christopher Cantwell,” known for publicly chanting “Jews will not replace us!”; and Michael Hill, “who lambasted ‘organized Jewry’” on Facebook. Further, Vox.com takes pains to point out that The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, touted its own involvement in “Unite The Right” by creating a poster that featured the image of a man using a sledge hammer to smash a Star of David.
It seems not to have occurred to any of those who claim that Trump lauded neo-Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people,” that Trump has very demonstrably been a more loyal and stalwart friend to Israel and the Jewish people than any other president in American history. Consider just a few salient facts:
In addition to the foregoing considerations, is the very relevant fact that President Trump’s own daughter, Ivanka, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, and three of his grandchildren, are orthodox Jews. The notion that Mr. Trump harbors even the barest shred of sympathy for neo-Nazis and other Jew-haters, ranks among the most ludicrous charges ever leveled against an American political figure.
But that has not stopped the authors of “Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” from absurdly claiming:
“Trump has trafficked in anti-Semitic caricatures, including the tweeting of a six-pointed star alongside a pile of cash. He has also been reluctant to condemn anti-Semitic attacks on journalists from his supporters, and he echoed neo-Nazi conspiracy theories by saying that Hillary Clinton ‘meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends and her donors’.”
“Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” notes that “during a White House meeting in 2018, he [Trump] referred to some undocumented immigrants as ‘animals.’” To buttress that claim, the authors provide a link to a May 16, 2018 New York Times article that begins as follows: “President Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting on Wednesday, warning in front of news cameras that dangerous people were clamoring to breach the country’s borders and branding such people ‘animals.’”
Similarly, a May 17, 2018 story on the National Public Radio website ran the headline: “During Roundtable, Trump Calls Some Unauthorized Immigrants ‘Animals’.” And an article in USA Today started with these words:
“President Trump used extraordinarily harsh rhetoric to renew his call for stronger immigration laws Wednesday, calling undocumented immigrants ‘animals’ and venting frustration at Mexican officials who he said ‘do nothing’ to help the United States. ‘We have people coming into the country or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them, but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,’ Trump said. ‘These aren’t people. These are animals.’”
Congressional Democrats, too, were quick to complain about Trump having equated immigrants with “animals.”
Nor has the passage of time done anything to diminish the Democrats’ passion for denouncing Trump’s “animals” remark:
From reading or hearing the foregoing characterizations of Trump’s comments, one would have absolutely no idea that the president’s reference to “animals” was actually made in direct response to Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims’ complaint that immigration-law restrictions were preventing her from informing federal authorities that certain deportable, illegal-alien members of the brutally violent MS-13 gang were being housed, at that very moment, in a Fresno prison. “There could be an MS-13 member I know about—if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE [Immigration & Customs Enforcement] about it,” said an exasperated Mims. It was in response to that statement, that Trump made the “animals” remark quoted in USA Today: “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.” To any honest observer, it would have been quite obvious that Trump was not referring to “undocumented” or “unauthorized” immigrants generally, but to MS-13 members specifically.
Of course, some readers might wonder if—even in light of this added context—President Trump’s remarks may have been unnecessarily immoderate. Decide for yourself:
These horrific anecdotes, coupled with the broader statistics pertaining to MS-13’s prevalence in the United States, serve as strong evidence that Trump’s assessment of the gang’s members was in fact wholly justified, and that the accounts of his comments—by media outlets and elected Democrats alike—were as thoroughly dishonest as can possibly be imagined.
“Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” claims that during a White House meeting in 2018, President Trump said that unless stronger border-control policies were adopted, “undocumented immigrants … would ‘pour into and infest our country.’”
In response to Trump’s remark, CNN reported that “President Donald Trump amplified his heated immigration rhetoric … accusing Democrats of wanting migrants to ‘infest our country’ and turning a speech on the economy into an angry tirade defending his harsh stance.” In a similar vein, a Buzzfeed News story began: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday equated migrants and refugees to the United States with vermin who will ‘pour into and infest our country.’” And a headline in The Atlantic Monthly read: “Trump Says Democrats Want Immigrants to ‘Infest’ the U.S.” The accompanying subtitle said: “What are infestations? They are takeovers by vermin, rodents, insects. What does one do with an infestation? Why, one exterminates it.”
But lo and behold, it turns out that, once again, Trump was most definitely not talking about “immigrants”—or even “undocumented immigrants” —generally. He was speaking very specifically about MS-13 members and their ilk. It’s not difficult to figure this out. All you have to do is read the president’s actual words: “Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13.”
“Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” also reports that President Trump, during that same White House meeting in 2018, “claimed, without evidence, that migrants were bringing diseases into the country.”
“Without evidence”? Consider some highly pertinent facts, as related by author Daniel Horowitz on March 7, 2019:
“On Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan announced the building of a new facility to deal with the health crisis of those coming over the border and surrendering themselves to agents. A whopping 31,000 medical referrals were made for illegal aliens this year, straining our hospitals and local county emergency medical personnel, up from 12,000 last year…. Over the past few months, there have been numerous cases of chicken pox, tuberculosis, scabies, and lice among the migrants…. A rotating medical team near the southern California border reportedly discovered hundreds of cases of communicable diseases and other conditions in the first two months of 2019.”
Horowitz further notes that according to the Centers for Disease Control, “Guatemalans are 83 times more likely to have tuberculosis than Americans, and seven times more likely than legal immigrants.” He also cites a Tijuana Health Department report indicating that fully one-third of the members of a large, U.S.-bound migrant caravan had required treatment, during a temporary stayover in Tijuana, for a wide variety of health issues including tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, chicken pox, lice, skin infections, and hepatitis.
In a similar vein, a March 2019 Reuters report states: “U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters that changing demographics on the southwest border, with more immigrants from Central America traveling long distances, overwhelmed border officials and raised health concerns. ‘We are seeing migrants arrive with illnesses and medical conditions in unprecedented numbers,’ McAleenan said at a press conference.”
There is absolutely nothing “racist” about President Trump pointing out the very obvious and demonstrable fact that a porous, unregulated border tends to increase the likelihood that infectious diseases will be introduced needlessly into the United States. Nothing.
“Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” informs us that Mr. Trump “began his 2016 presidential campaign with a speech disparaging Mexican immigrants as criminals and ‘rapists.’”
Is that characterization of Trump’s remarks accurate? The full context of his comments is as follows:
“When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically. The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems…. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best…. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [to] 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 [border] protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening [at the border]. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”
In the excerpt above, President Trump explicitly mentions the “border” by name, twice. Plus, he makes very obvious references to the border two additional times (see the bracketed inserts). In other words, he quite clearly is not “disparaging Mexican immigrants” who enter the country through lawful channels. He is describing people who choose to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, in open and contemptuous defiance of America’s immigration laws.
As for the substance of Trump’s remarks vis-à-vis the nature of the illegal border-crossers, consider the following pertinent facts:
In short, President Trump’s assertions about illegal border-crossers were notably accurate. There was nothing “racist” about his remarks at all.
“Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” complains that “Trump regularly demonized dark-skinned immigrants before the 2018 midterm elections,” and that he said “a caravan of migrants traveling through Mexico” included, as the president put it, “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners.”
The caravan in question—composed of thousands of people from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador who had candidly announced their intention of gaining illegal entry into the United States—was organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras (PSF), a nonprofit organization whose name means “People Without Borders.” Pledging to “turn down border walls imposed by greed,” PSF’s overriding objective is to “abolish borders” and facilitate the free, unregulated movement of Central American migrants into the United States. The executive director of PSF is Emma Lozano, a left-wing activist whose nephew is the Communist Party USA / Young Communist League operative Pepe Lozano.
In November 2018, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stated that hundreds of the 10,000-or-so migrants in the aforementioned U.S.-bound caravan were already convicted criminals in their countries of origin. “[W]e cannot confirm the backgrounds and identities of all caravan members which possess a national security and public safety risk to our country,” wrote Nielsen. “However, at this point we have confirmed that there are over 600 convicted criminals traveling with the caravan flow. This includes individuals known to law enforcement for assault, battery, drug crimes, burglary, rape, child abuse and more. This is serious. Additionally, Mexico has already arrested 100 caravan members for criminal violations in Mexico.”
As for Trump’s suggestion that “unknown Middle Easterners” could be among the people capable of crossing America’s southern border illegally, a Clarion Project report states the following:
“Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah are financing Mexican drug cartels, smuggling people into America and recruiting them (for pay) as sleeper jihadist cells. The recruits are mainly immigrants to Mexico from the Middle East, mostly from Lebanon where Hezbollah is based. The coordinated operation is part of Iran’s war on America….
“In southern Chiapas in Mexico, there are Muslim communities … made up of Syrians and Lebanese who migrated to Mexico decades ago as well as recent Mexican converts to Islam. In addition, Islam is gaining a foothold and in southern Mexico, with indigenous Mayans converting by the hundreds. These communities are funded in the Diaspora and all contain sleeper cells. With the help of Mexican drug cartels, they finance and traffic extremists to the United States….”
“Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” reminds us of a January 2018 controversy where it was alleged that President Trump—at an immigration-related meeting with a handful of senators at the White House—had “vulgarly called for less immigration from Haiti and Africa and more from Norway.” This story had its roots in an unsubstantiated report by Democrat Senator Dick Durbin, who was present at the White House meeting and subsequently told reporters that the president had referred to a number of poverty-stricken, terrorism-ravaged nations as “shithole countries” Said Durbin:
“In the course of his comments of said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist—he [Trump] used those words [‘shithole countries]. I understand how powerful they are. But I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday…. He said these hate-filled things. And he said them repeatedly. When the question was raised about Haitians, for example, we have a group that have temporary protected status in the United States because they were the victims of crises and disasters and political upheaval. The largest group’s El Salvadorians. The second is Honduran and the third is Haitian.”
Trump denied having used the term that Durbin claimed to find so objectionable. But even if the president had in fact used it—in a closed-door meeting where he was speaking frankly with fellow governmental leaders, and not in a public forum of any kind—would that really have been such terrible thing? It simply is not credible that Durbin, a grown man who has been immersed in Washington bareknuckle politics since 1983, felt offended by a bit of salty language from an American president. If the senator objected so strongly to such modes of expression, why had he not raised his voice in protest after then-President Barack Obama told an Atlantic magazine interviewer in 2016 that the nation of Libya—which was replete with ISIS terrorists and was in a state of political and economic chaos—had devolved into a “shit show”?
Durbin’s purported sensitivity to Trump’s remarks seems even less credible in light of the fact that the senator is a member of the Democratic Party, whose members routinely—and very publicly—characterize the United States as a nation replete with racism, sexism, white supremacy, economic injustice, greed, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny. What are these characterizations, if not the very definitions of what one might term a “shithole country”? Are we to believe that just because an endless barrage of Democrat smears against a particular nation are articulated in leftist jargon, they are somehow less objectionable than a smear spoken in a cruder vernacular by a Republican?
Casting further doubt on Durbin’s assertion that Trump’s words had inflicted such distress upon him, is the fact that the senator also claimed to have been deeply offended by Trump’s use, in the same closed-door meeting, of the term “chain migration”—a policy permitting newly naturalized citizens (including newly amnestied illegal aliens) to bring their extended family members to the United States. As Durbin told reporters after the meeting: “When it came to the issue of, quote, ‘chain migration,’ I said to the president, do you realize how painful that term is to so many people? African-Americans believe they migrated to America in chains and when you talk about chain migration, it hurts them personally.” But the senator’s complaints ring pathetically hollow, when we consider the fact that Durbin himself had very openly used the term on past occasions.
Durbin’s feigned outrage regarding “chain migration” was mimicked by a number of congressional Democrats. Rep Chris Murphy of Connecticut, for one, tweeted that “‘chain migration’ is a made-up term” by which “the hard-line anti-immigration crowd” aims to “dehumanize immigrants.” In a similar spirit, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said: “Let’s be very clear: When someone uses the phrase ‘chain migration,’ it is intentional in trying to … demonize families and make it a racist slur.”
But as author Jonah Goldberg has pointed out, the protestations of Durbin, Murphy, Gillibrand, and their ilk amount to nothing more than a pack of lies promulgated by a band of attention-seeking drama queens. Writes Goldberg:
“According to the academic database JSTOR, there are hundreds of scholarly papers using the term, beginning in 1942. It came into wider circulation in the 1960s, no doubt because immigration policy was radically changed in 1965. LexisNexis dates the first appearance in a 1982 New York Times article about urbanization in India. Though that is probably because its database largely begins about then. The term wasn’t simply used about immigration issues in America but for migration patterns in other countries. Search for the term ‘chain migration’ at the Census Bureau’s website and you’ll find scads of reports and papers using the term, many of which were produced under the Obama administration.”
And finally, lest we get completely sidetracked by the question of what is, or is not, acceptable language for a closed-door meeting between a president and a group of senators, what can we say about the substance of Trump’s alleged reference to “shithole countries”? If Trump indeed were to have disparaged the countries cited by Durbin—El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and certain unnamed African nations—would there have been any merit to those criticisms? Let’s take a look:
Would President Trump—or any other political figure, for that matter—be justified in suggesting that it might be imprudent for America to import large numbers of people from such nations? You can decide for yourself.
According to “Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List,” President Trump “frequently claimed that Barack Obama did not work hard as president.” This is most likely a reference to the fact that between 2011 and 2016, Trump posted numerous tweets claiming that Obama was spending too much time doing things like playing golf, watching sports on television, or taking vacations.
While people may certainly disagree with Trump’s assessment of Obama’s work ethic, there is absolutely nothing inherently “racist” about that assessment. Lazy people, like all other types of people, come in all colors. Moreover, no less an authority than Barack Obama himself had publicly identified “laziness” as one of his own unsavory personal attributes. Indeed, Obama had the following exchange with ABC News’ Barbara Walters in a December 2011 interview:
WALTERS: “What’s the trait you most deplore in yourself, and the trait you most deplore in others?”
WALTERS: “You’re lazy?”
OBAMA: “You know, it’s interesting. There is a deep down, underneath all the work that I do, I think there’s a laziness in me. It’s probably from, you know, growing up in Hawaii and it’s sunny outside, and sitting on the beach.”
It is notable that the authors of “The Definitive List” choose to identify “racism” as the underlying motive for Trump’s assessment of Obama’s work ethic, but they remain silent about the fact that in December 2018, Trump said the following about his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a white man: “Rex Tillerson didn’t have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell.”
Why the double standard?
“Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” says that Trump “has a pattern of criticizing African-Americans as unintelligent.” This item links to an August 3, 2018 tweet where Trump wrote: “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” Numerous leftists joined the authors of “The Definitive List” in ascribing Trump’s remarks about James and Lemon, to racism. For example:
But the notion that Trump portrays only black people as unintelligent is patently untrue. For example, he has referred to both Joe Biden and Robert De Niro—a pair of white men—as “low-IQ” individuals. And he has used such terms as “stupid,” “dumb,” and “dumb as a rock” to describe additional whites like Rex Tillerson, Mika Brzezinski, Rick Wilson, Chris Matthews, Bill Maher, Jonah Goldberg, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, and George Will.
“Donald Trump’s Racism: The Definitive List” says of Trump: “He often casts heavily black American cities as dystopian war zones. In a 2016 debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump said, ‘Our inner cities, African Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.’ Trump also said to black voters: ‘You’re living in poverty; your schools are no good; you have no jobs.’”
First of all, it is indeed strange to see Trump criticized for making supposedly “racist” comments like these, when a multitude of Democrats in Congress have been saying the very same things for decades, lamenting the crime and poverty that afflict black communities in the U.S. from coast to coast. During a visit to West Baltimore in 2015, for instance, Senator Bernie Sanders said: “Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation. You would think that you were in a Third World country.” Sanders also called it “a disgrace” that Baltimore was “a community in which half of the people don’t have jobs,” where “there are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable,” and where poor people “have lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea.”
Is Bernie Sanders a “racist” for having made these very plain and accurate observations?
The facts, unfortunately, are not on the Democrats’ side. In city after city where Democrats have been in charge politically for an extended period of time, we find exceedingly high—indeed, often colossal—levels of poverty and crime. And the longer those Democrats have been in charge, the worse the conditions tend to be. In short, Democrats have transformed a host of once-great metropolises into urban prisons where the common man—particularly the black and Hispanic common man on whose behalf Democrats typically claim to speak—has been grievously harmed by one destructive Democratic policy after another.
Of the 50 U.S. cities that: (a) have the highest violent crime rates, (b) have a population of at least 25,000, and (c) are governed by mayors who are clearly identifiable as either Democrats or Republicans, 48 are currently headed by Democratic mayors and administrations; only 2 are led by Republicans.
Similarly, of the 50 American cities with (a) the highest poverty rates, (b) populations of 60,000 or more, and (c) mayors who are clearly identifiable as either Democrats or Republicans, 46 have Democratic mayors; only 4 are governed by Republicans.
Democrats typically congratulate themselves for being the only party truly concerned with education—especially of the underprivileged—and they regularly attack conservatives and Republicans for their “callous indifference” to the scholastic needs of minority children. But it has been on the Democrats’ watch, that inner-city kids have fallen further and further behind academically. In big city after big city whose politics are dominated by Democrats, the public-school systems are mired in fiscal profligacy, bureaucratic bloat, and academic failure. It is not at all uncommon for these school districts to spend extravagant sums of money—often as much as $15,000 to $25,000 per student annually—only to have fewer than 15% of those students emerge after 12 years of “education” with even the barest shred of proficiency in reading, math, and science.
In an article titled “Trump’s Full List of ‘Racist’ Comments about Immigrants, Muslims, and Others,” Newsweek magazine complains that the president once “said that Afghanistan is a ‘terrorist haven.’” In the interests of accuracy, it should be noted that Trump himself did not actually use the term “terrorist haven”; those words were taken, by Newsweek, from a New York Times article that said: “Mr. Trump then began reading aloud from the document, which … listed how many immigrants had received visas to enter the United States in 2017. More than 2,500 were from Afghanistan, a terrorist haven, the president complained.”
But regardless of whatever specific words Trump may have used, there is absolutely nothing “racist” about his claim regarding rampant terrorism in Afghanistan. Any honest assessment of that nation’s political and social climate will attest to the fact that it is the very embodiment of a terrorist haven. Consider, for instance, that the CIA lists no fewer than eight terrorist organizations as currently active in Afghanistan:
In August 2019, The Diplomat reported that the terror threat in Afghanistan is even broader than that, stating:
“The UN assesses that the Taliban is the ‘primary partner’ of a variety of terrorist groups: al-Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (non-ISKP faction), and the Turkestan Islamic Party, ‘as well as nearly 20 other regionally and globally focused groups’ in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda and ISKP both consider Afghanistan an important region to recuperate and plan their next phase of operations.”
By now, virtually every American has heard about Donald Trump’s infamous “Muslim ban.” If you Google the phrase “Trump and ‘Muslim ban’,” you’ll get well over 1.2 million search results. The term “Muslim ban” refers to the fact that President Trump, professing a desire “to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” issued a January 2017 executive order calling for: (a) a four-month suspension of almost all travel and refugee admissions to the U.S. from six nations that were hotbeds of Islamic terrorism: Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen; (b) an indefinite suspension of admissions from Syria, where widespread terrorism was exacerbated by a bloody civil war; and (c) an “extreme vetting” process for any and all immigrants and visitors to the U.S.
And how, exactly, did President Trump select the seven aforementioned Muslim-majority countries as targets for his executive action? Actually, he chose precisely the same seven countries that had been named in the Visa Waiver Program Improvement & Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, which passed easily through Congress and was signed into law by President Obama in December 2015. Moreover, Trump’s instinct for caution was supported by previous statements that had been issued by a number of high-ranking Obama officials—including FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, CIA Director John Brennan, and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Michael Steinbach—all of whom were in agreement that it would be impossible for U.S. immigration authorities to reliably screen out terrorists posing as refugees.
Nevertheless, the reaction to Trump’s executive order—by media outlets and Democrat legislators alike—was pure, unrestrained, venomous outrage. During Trump’s first week in office, The New York Times published an opinion piece under the headline: “Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban Is Cowardly and Dangerous.” The Times also ran a video feature titled “World Reaction to Trump’s Muslim Ban,” which showed a selection of people from across the globe explaining, with unanimity, that Trump’s proposed policy was a “really crazy,” “inhumane,” and “totally unacceptable” “media stunt” rooted in a strain of “racial discrimination” that was contrary to “American values.”
These types of headlines and news items have continued, without pause, ever since. And Democrat politicians have been exceedingly eager to lend their voices to the chorus. Bernie Sanders, for one, has described what he calls Trump’s “Muslim ban” as a “racist and anti-Islamic” outgrowth of “fear, racism and xenophobia.” According to former Vice President Joe Biden: “President Trump’s travel ban—the Muslim ban—remains one of his most egregious attacks on our core values. Spewing the politics of fear & slandering an entire religious community as complicit in terrorism is wrong & goes against everything we stand for.”
But the notion that Trump’s executive order amounted to a “Muslim ban” is wholly inconsistent with reality. While the order originally affected 7 majority-Muslim nations with an aggregate population of approximately 227 million people, it had no effect whatsoever on the more-than-40 other majority-Muslim nations around the world, or the 1.6 billion people who inhabit them.
In September 2017, the Trump administration issued a revised version of the original executive order banning travel from certain countries. The nations included in the new list were: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad (which was later dropped from the list), North Korea, and Venezuela. Though the latter two nations have almost no Muslims in their respective populations, Trump’s critics continue to cite the “Muslim ban” as a great affront to Islam and its people. Nor has their outrage been curtailed by the fact that the Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that Trump’s executive order was constitutional.
From California to Texas, the southern U.S. border separating America from Mexico stretches 1,954 miles. Along that span, there are currently 330 officially recognized ports of entry—about one every six miles or so—where people seeking admission to the United States can lawfully present themselves and have their requests considered. If they wish to apply for asylum—i.e., refuge away from a country to which it would be too dangerous for them to return—they must prove that in their homeland they have faced persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, social-group membership, or political opinions. The pursuit of employment or “a better life” in the United States is not considered sufficient legal cause for requesting asylum.
For many years, America’s southern border has been overrun by people crossing illegally into the United States by the tens of thousands each month. For the most part, these people have chosen not to present themselves to U.S. authorities at any of the 330 official ports of entry, where they could have accessed food, water, and medical care if necessary. Instead they have elected to breach the border at locations somewhere between those ports of entry, in the midst of an arid desert, where, immediately upon planting their feet on the American side of the border with Mexico, they have actively sought out U.S. border authorities, in hopes of being taken into custody and then applying for asylum. Why?
Because they have understood that if they were to apply for asylum through lawful channels at official ports of entry, they would most likely be deported for having no legitimate basis for making such an application. By contrast, if they could somehow manage to sneak into U.S. territory before making their asylum requests, they were unlikely to be sent back to Mexico right away; rather, they stood a good chance of being released into the U.S. interior, along with a notice instructing them to report for a formal asylum hearing at some date in the very distant future, given the massive backlog of cases in American immigration courts. This of course would give such people plenty of time to simply “disappear,” never again to be seen by U.S. immigration authorities.
When the number of apprehended illegal border-crossers reached nearly 40,000 in both March and April of 2018, the Trump administration attempted to curtail their continued entry into the U.S. On April 6th, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the government would thenceforth pursue a “zero-tolerance” policy whereby every adult caught illegally crossing the border—or even attempting to do so—would be subject to criminal prosecution, while any minor children accompanying them would be placed in shelters.
In response to this announcement, the Democratic Party launched a vicious propaganda campaign against President Trump and members of his administration, accusing them of mistreating poor, defenseless migrants and their young children in the most abominable ways. Particularly widespread were charges that the administration was pursuing a policy of forced “family separation” whereby youngsters were routinely being “ripped” from the arms of their parents along the U.S.-Mexico border. Former Vice President Joe Biden, for one, denounced “this administration’s policies that literally rip babies from the arms of their mothers and fathers” as “one of the darkest moments in our history.” Senator Bernie Sanders said, “You don’t rip little children away from the arms of their mother.” And Senator Elizabeth Warren told a large crowd of her supporters in Boston: “President Trump seems to think the only way to have immigration rules is [to] rip parents from their families … and to put children in cages.”
In June 2018, some 111 House Democrats signed a letter urging the top two members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to bar the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from funding the enforcement of Trump’s “inhumane” and “misguided” policy of “family separation” at the border. That same month, Ron Wyden led 37 fellow Senate Democrats as well as Independents Bernie Sanders and Angus King, in sending President Trump a letter demanding that he “rescind” his “unethical, ineffective, and inhumane” border policy because of its “traumatizing impacts” on detainees.
Supplementing these efforts were media outlets nationwide, which disseminated a massive array of stories about—and images of—weeping mothers and children being separated from one another at America’s southern border. One of the more iconic pictures was a Time magazine cover that showed a small girl crying in terror as she looked up at the unsympathetic face of Donald Trump, whose image had been positioned before her. The caption read, “Welcome to America.”
Absent from the foregoing condemnations of the Trump border policy was any acknowledgment of the fact that the Obama administration had likewise separated many thousands of parents from their children. The main difference is that Obama did not apply separation in a “zero-tolerance” manner, but reserved it chiefly for cases where the parents were known to have criminal backgrounds or drug involvement. Most other family units were released into the American interior, usually never to be heard from again.
The origin of the so-called “separation” policy dates back to the mid-1980s. Following is a brief overview of the policy’s history:
Finally, in 2015, California federal district court judge Dolly Gee, an appointee of President Obama, ruled that because detention centers in Texas had failed to meet the standards laid out in Flores, the Obama administration would now be required to release—within 20 days—all children apprehended while crossing the border illegally, whether or not they were accompanied by an adult.
“In other words,” the Center for Immigration Studies explained in February 2019, “now all minors in detention, whether or not they were with their parents, couldn’t be detained for more than three weeks. This ruling laid the groundwork for the current [policy], in which children are released while their parents can still be detained awaiting hearings—hence, the ‘separation’ of families. The alternative is simply releasing the entire family after three weeks or less.”
These were precisely the same narrow alternatives that were open to the Trump administration in April 2018, when it implemented its new “zero-tolerance” policy vis-a-vis illegal entry. On June 20, 2018, President Trump, under mounting political pressure not only from Democrats but also from members of his own party, signed an executive order ending the practice of separating children from their parents at the border, while keeping the zero-tolerance policy intact. In other words, it would now be deemed permissible to detain adult migrants and their children together indefinitely. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” said Trump. The president’s order also required the Defense Department to provide and, “if necessary,” construct facilities in which to house and care for the families.
Democrats and their mouthpieces in the leftist media were not at all mollified by Trump’s gesture, however. As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi put it, the president’s executive order merely sought to “replace one form of child abuse with another” by “pav[ing] the way for the long-term incarceration of families in prison-like conditions.” The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, condemned the Trump administration for its continued “animus toward immigrants and its inhumane border policies.”
In other words, President Trump was going to be portrayed as a despicable, congenital “racist” no matter what he did, short of releasing every illegal border-crosser into the U.S. interior—and essentially declaring all of our nation’s immigration laws null, void, and meaningless.
While the American news media have been so intent on portraying President Trump’s every word, every action, and every breath as “racist,” they have dutifully avoided reporting on events that might contradict their carefully scripted narrative.
To cite one recent example, consider some of the profoundly positive things that Trump said in his speech to the Young Black Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., where he was received with enormous warmth and enthusiasm, in October 2018. “[I]t is my great honor,” the president stated, “to be with so many brilliant—and that’s what you are, brilliant, courageous, patriotic and proud Americans. Seeing all of you here today fills me with an extraordinary confidence in America’s future, and the great, great future of our country…. You are true leaders on your campuses, in your churches and in your communities.”
Don’t feel too badly if you never heard about the Young Black Leadership Summit, or about Trump’s remarks there. News reporters must have scarcely had a moment to mention the event, given the fact that they were so busy chronicling the president’s “racism” on a minute-by-minute basis.
It is also unlikely that you ever heard about President Trump’s September 10, 2019 address at the annual Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Week Conference in Washington, D.C., where he said things like this:
At that same event, Trump proudly announced that he had: (a) signed legislation to increase federal funding for HBCUs by a record 13%; (b) directed the entire federal government to develop a strategy to help HBCUs “receive [the] resources and support that you deserve”; (c) instructed NASA as well as the Departments of Labor and Education to recruit HBCU students and to increase apprenticeship opportunities for them; and (d) opened a White House office to coordinate and oversee these various initiatives. “Our federal budget also prioritizes HBCUs in our plan to give more students access to state-of-the-art training in high-demand fields, such as science, technology, engineering, and math,” the president noted as well.
But as National Review contributing editor Deroy Murdock points out: “All three evening-news shows entombed this [HBCU] story. Instead, ABC spent 15 seconds on the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders doubling their pay. CBS delivered 22 seconds on the medical benefits of twice-weekly naps. And NBC broadcast one minute and 34 seconds on a 9-year-old Ohioan who was ‘lunch-shamed’ at his school.”
In September 2019 as well, President Trump made the following remarks at a Hispanic Heritage Month reception at the White House:
The media, however, were mostly unwilling to believe anything positive that Trump may have said at the White House reception. An opinion piece in The Hill, for instance, condemned “Trump’s bigotry” and stated: “The president’s antipathy towards Latinos is well-documented…. During this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, affirming our heritage represents a kind of defiance to a president and an administration that is hostile to Latinos.”
A few days after the Hispanic Heritage Month gathering at which the president spoke, NBC News quoted an information-technology worker in Tennessee saying: “He [Trump] speaks nothing but hate rhetoric. If the leader of this country is free to speak like that, there’s going to be people who think it’s OK to speak like that. He’s making people live their life in fear.”
At a September 22, 2019 event at Houston’s NRG Stadium, where some 50,000 immigrants from India (and their American-born descendants) gathered for “a community summit” in honor of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Trump told the crowd that he and Mr. Modi “have come to Houston to celebrate everything that unites America and India—our shared dreams and bright futures.” Despite the fact that U.S. citizens of Indian ancestry had voted overwhelmingly against him in 2016, Trump declared: “I’ve also come to express my profound gratitude to the nearly 4 million amazing Indian Americans all across our country. You enrich our culture, you uphold our values, you uplift our communities, and you are truly proud to be American. And we are proud to have you as Americans. We thank you. We love you.”
“This occasion in Houston was a high-water mark in relations between Earth’s two most populous republics,” Deroy Murdock observes. “Regardless, Trump and Modi’s love-in received zero minutes and zero seconds of coverage on that evening’s NBC Nightly News. However, America’s highest-rated news program for the coveted 25-to-54 demographic devoted two minutes and 35 seconds to correspondent Sam Brock’s report on the 25th anniversary of The Shawshank Redemption. Likewise … ABC’s World News Tonight totally spurned Trump’s Indo-extravaganza. However, it focused for one minute and 45 seconds on Katie, a border collie that was lost in Montana and found, alive, 57 days later.”
* The piece above is derived from: “Debunking the ‘Trump Is a Racist’ Charge” (by John Perazzo, 11-29-2019).
Debunking the “Trump Is a Racist” Charge
By John Perazzo
November 29, 2019