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Trump Lowlights from May 2024

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The  Republican presidential nominee closed out May as a convicted felon. On May 30, the Donald Trump was convicted of 34 felonies by a New York jury. While the former President ranted and raved about many topics in the press gaggles throughout the trial, bashing immigrants was a recurring theme. Throughout the month, the Trump campaign continued to add to the list of Nazi associations and continued to amplify white nationalist replacement theory rhetoric. Trump spent the month clarifying that unqualified mass deportation would deploy the military and deputize police to target 15 – 30 million people for roundups, detention, and deportation is the central promise animating his campaign. Trump’s nativist conspiracies infused with racism continued to flow while the aligned coalition supporting Trump is building an election denial pretext, using immigrants as the villain to socialize a justification for overturning election results that do not go Trump’s way. 

It’s an ugly list, but one we cannot afford to look away from. Here are the key lowlights from Trump in May 2024:

Trump’s Trial: 

  • Immediately following the verdict, Trump left the courthouse and launched into a rant that included, of course, an attack on immigrants, stating: “We don’t have the same country anymore. We have a divided mess. We’re a nation in decline, serious decline. Millions and millions of people pouring into our country right now.”
  • At the next day’s press conference, Trump jumped into another thinly disguised racist rant, saying:  “The Congo has just released a lot of people from jail – Congo, Africa – just released a lot of people, a lot of people, from their prisons and jails, and brought them into the United States of America.” Not that facts matter to Trump, but even by his standards, that rant had no basis in reality.  CNN’s fact-checker Daniel Dale did a deep dive concluding, “Trump’s claim is baseless.”

Trump’s Threats to Democracy: 

  • At the beginning of May, Trump conducted an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel where he repeated the lie about the rigged nature of the 2020 elections, again downplayed the violent January 6th insurrection, and refused to pledge to accept the results of the 2024 election should he lose. In other words, he hit on part of his core stump speech. This rhetoric is as absurd as it is a direct threat to American democracy. And as we have repeatedly noted, tied to white nationalist replacement theory as Trump and the GOP combine the xenophobic lies and the lies about a stolen election into a toxic brew that threatens the confidence in elections as well as public safety. Like Republican allies on Capitol HIll, led by Speaker Mike Johnson, who spent much of May repeating lies about a nonexistent treat of non-citizen voting. In a Los Angeles Times column titled, “Our elections have integrity. These politicians do not,”: Jackie Calmes called out the GOP game,  “Policy isn’t the point, however; politics is. This gambit is a two-fer for firing up Republican voters: It plays to their anti-immigrant fervor and election fraud myths … ‘That is the design, I think, of why they opened the border,’ Johnson said on CNBC, mimicking Trump’s rally rhetoric. ‘To turn them into voters.’ That just ain’t so, and Johnson knows it — I give him that much credit. Noncitizens aren’t voting. U.S. elections aren’t rigged. Voter fraud is vanishingly rare. Republicans who tell you differently are lying. And we all know, intuitively, why.” Indeed, we do. They want to help Trump steal another election, this time by blaming immigrants.

Trump’s Violent and Bigoted Rhetoric : 

  • Later in May, Trump’s campaign again gave away their true intentions when the Associated Press reported,  “A video posted to Donald Trump’s account on his social media network included references to a ‘unified Reich’ among hypothetical news headlines if he wins the election in November.” Yes, as in, Hitler’s Third Reich. The former President and now candidate again has long engaged in far-right fringe conspiracy theories that were once the purview of neo-Nazi websites. Led by Trump, this extreme messaging has moved to the mainstream of the Republican Party.
  • At a rally in the South Bronx on May 24, Trump again ramped up his lies and anti-immigrant rhetoric. ABC News headlined their coverage,  Trump continues to demonize migrants, falsely claims they’re ‘building an army. The article included an excerpt: “They come from Africa. They come from Asia. They come from all over the world. They come from the Middle East, Yemen … Large numbers of people are coming in from China,” he said. “And if you look at these people, did you see them? They are physically fit. They’re 19 to 25. Almost everyone is a male, and they look like fighting age.” “I think they’re building an army … they want to get us from within,” he said.

Trump’s Mass Deportation Plan:

  • As New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote towards the end of May: “Trump’s signature promise, during the 2016 presidential election, was that he would build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. His signature promise, this time around, is that he’ll use his power as president to deport as many as 20 million people from the United States.” Trump Over the next six months, we will see the Republican nominee continue to riff and add cruelties and authoritarian elements to his central campaign pledge. Like repeatedly promising that he grant local police immunity from prosecution after he deputizes them as his mass deportation force. A plan that says to police that the president’s top priority is rounding up millions and that racist and violent practices should be of no concern. The severe implications of which are hard to overstate.   
  • Trump’s main campaign pledge isn’t his alone but is bein enthusiastically adopted by the one-time champions of common sense reforms like creating a pathway to citizenship for our undocumented neighbors. People like Senator Marco Rubio, who went from a vocal champion of reform to reaching for white nationalist rhetoric that describes immigrants as an invading force while calling for the absurd number of deporting 30 million people.  
  • “If Trump gets a second term in the White House he will not be so restrained.  Trump loyalists like Stephen Miller learned valuable lessons during Trump’s first term about how to rig and control the government,” wrote David Leopold – Chair, Immigration Group, UB Greensfelder, Former Biden-Harris Transition Team, and past President & General Counsel American Immigration Lawyers Association. “

So, it’s been quite a month for Donald Trump. He started by spewing falsehoods that allow him to blame immigrants when and if he loses in order to once again steal an election. He and his campaign spent the middle of the month embracing Nazi symbolism, “claimed immigrants were “building an army,” then he ended May with 34 felony convictions – but, again, with baseless and false claims that immigrants are the actual culprits.  “Never were these warnings more powerful (and chilling) than they are today. And, anyone who doesn’t think Trump, Miller and their allies don’t mean what they say is deluding themselves. A delusion the country cannot afford to indulge.