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Trump is Trying to Distract Us from His Coronavirus Failures — And People Aren’t Buying It

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Yesterday, Donald Trump issued his latest executive order limiting immigration for the next 60 days. As we and others have pointed out, this news should not be taken so as a fact-based policy development or a reasonable response to the coronavirus pandemic. It is just the latest cynical ploy by Trump to divide and distract Americans — a desperate attempt to use xenophobia to get voters to look anywhere but his record of failure on Covid-19. 

Here is a sample of what prominent people are saying: 

Representatives Nadler, Lofgren 

As we predicted based on his earlier tweet, Trump’s executive order is simply meant to divide and distract us from his tragic failure to effectively combat the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. He should be uniting us as a country as we continue to battle the deadly disease, not trying to shift blame and scapegoat immigrants.

Laura Clawson at DailyKos

Donald Trump is always looking around for excuses to use immigration to divide the country to his own political benefit, and he’s currently looking for ways to distract from his fatal incompetence on coronavirus. 

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)

More than 40,000 Americans have lost their lives to #Covid_19 

Trump is once again relying on division to distract us from his failure to provide the testing, PPE and tracing that is necessary to save lives and reopen our economy. 

We’re not falling for it.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

More of the same from President Trump – trying to divide Americans and incite fear to distract from the fact that he failed to prepare for this crisis. 

We can’t lock out a virus, especially when the President’s inaction already allowed it to spread.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX)

This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda. We must come together to reject his division.

Dan Pfeiffer, Pod Save America

Trump wants to polarize the debate around immigration. Democrats don’t have to play his game, but they can call it out  — Trump is trying to divide us to distract from his failure to provide enough tests and PPE while huge corporations are getting the bulk of the economic help

Elie Mystal, The Nation

It is immigrant bashing for the sole purpose of exciting people who take sick comfort in harassing foreigners they’ve never met. And it is politically distracting‚ just as it is transparently designed to be.

American Immigration Council

President Trump’s actions are designed to distract and divide us from the fact that America now has the highest death and infection from the coronavirus. This should be a moment where everyone in America stands together to defeat the virus.

Latino Victory Fund

Trump’s latest move is just another attempt to divide and distract us from his failed leadership. No amount of xenophobic scapegoating will make voters forget about Trump’s callous disregard for their well-being & bungled response.

Mi Familia Vota

“Trump is using the familiar tactic of divide and distract by scapegoating immigrants because he has failed to protect Americans from #COVID19,” said @Hesanche, CEO and Executive Director of MFV.

NILC Immigrant Justice Fund

We have lost tens of millions of jobs in a matter of weeks because of Trump’s failure to lead, and he is using the same strategy as always: divide us by immigration status to distract from his handouts to corporations & the rich.

New American Leaders

Let’s be clear: This isn’t a direct or appropriate response to the pandemic. It’s another attempt by Trump to distract, divide, and push his white nationalist agenda when immigrants are already bearing the brunt of the crisis. We won’t stand for this.

Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ)

This executive order hurts Arizona, and only serves to demonize and scapegoat immigrants. Our nation is in crisis and rather than put all of his effort behind protecting the American people, the President has taken his eye off the ball. 

Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)

The recent executive order to limit green cards is another attempt by this administration to scapegoat immigrants.  We on the Central Coast know that immigrants are not a threat to our labor market, but bolster & benefit our economy, community, and country

Rep. Donna E. Shalala (D-FL)

President Trump just suspended immigration to the US.

Predictably, he made sure his ban didn’t apply to millionaire investors.

This is a new low, even for this administration.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)

No amount of scapegoating can cover over the fact that President Trump has bungled the federal response to COVID-19 and failed the American people. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Immigrants in this pandemic are…helping our country to endure. Nearly all of the economic evidence shows that immigrants enhance American growth and jobs. Stop the distractions, President Trump. Put our health first.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)

The President is taking advantage of a public health crisis to forward his political agenda by banning immigration all together. We all play a vital role in the overall economic and health success of this country, including our immigrants.

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA)

As the rest of the U.S. has come to better understand the importance of our immigrant doctors, farmworkers, and other #essentialworkers , Trump wants to use #COVID19 to push for his extremist views and halt legal immigration. We can’t let his message of hate and fear win.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)

Xenophobia won’t save us. Immigrants aren’t to blame for coronavirus. It’s dangerous to try to implement sweeping policies in late-night tweets. And, this is an affront to the immigrant healthcare providers on the front lines of this crisis. 

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MA)

When all else seems to fail on a given issue for @POTUS, making some pronouncement on immigration has become a fallback position. Especially during this crisis, we can’t lose sight of our values or fall prey to attempts to distract from the problem at hand 

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY)

Every time Trump feels backed in the corner and out of control, he attacks immigrants. It’s a weird pattern.

Former Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez

When Trump is really scared, he attacks immigrants and immigration.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Shuttering legal immigration would only serve to further damage our economy & harm immigrants who help put food on our tables, staff our hospitals, and contribute to our communities and our nation.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN)

Trump will ban immigration but allow some Southern states to loosen restrictions. 

This has nothing to do with our safety and everything to do with his blatant xenophobia.  


Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Pathetic attempt to shift blame from his Visible Incompetence to an Invisible Enemy. The President needs to reread the Declaration of Independence, criticizing King George for restricting immigration to America.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)

From the beginning Trump has flailed about seeking someone to blame for his own failure.

Obama. Governors. China. Speaker Pelosi. People of Asian descent.

Immigration has nearly stopped and the US has far more cases than any other country.

This is just xenophobic scapegoating.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)

We all know the playbook by now. Whenever Trump wants to change the subject, he says something racist/draconian about immigration. He has failed the response to coronavirus & has no plan for testing/tracing. Americans know it, his poll numbers are falling—so voila, same old song.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

You have nobody to blame but yourself for this completely bungled response to a deadly crisis, Mr. President. Not immigrants. Not governors or mayors. Just you. Stop scapegoating immigrants with more racism and xenophobia and do your job.