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As Trump Visits the Border, His New Campaign Video Intersperses Infamous 2015 Remarks with References to Horrific Georgia Killing

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Vanessa Cárdenas: “The way in which the GOP, led by Trump, is using this tragic event for political gain is revolting.”

Washington, DC — Donald Trump’s campaign has released a new video that mixes in comments from his infamous 2015 campaign kick-off speech – in which he said Mexico is “sending” “rapists” – with recent headlines about immigrants accused of horrific crimes in the U.S., including the high profile murder of Laken Riley in Georgia. 

As Trump travels to the border today for a town hall with Fox News and other events – and as we have seen on the campaign trail and throughout his presidency – Willie Horton-style dog whistle attacks linking immigrants and crime is a major theme for Trump. He is now regularly making false claims in his appearances that crime rates involving immigrants are getting worse, that crime rates in the U.S. are getting worse, and that countries are emptying out prisons and “insane asylums” in order to send immigrants to the U.S. to undermine our society. 

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“First things first: the killing of Laken Riley was horrific, and the perpetrator must be held accountable for this heinous crime and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

Now, it also must be said that the way in which the GOP, led by Donald Trump, is using this tragic event for political gain is revolting. It’s strategic racism; a well-worn tactic from a familiar playbook with the sole purpose of turning this tragedy into fodder for a political objective and narrative that migrants and asylum seekers are dangerous threats when the facts demonstrate otherwise. In study after study, and study, and study, and more study, the facts are clear: immigrants have lower crime rates than the rest of the population.

Specifically, the Trump campaign’s new and triumphalist video – adopting a ‘we were right’ tone – continues the hateful rhetoric that led to so much harm during his first term, and is a classic example of strategic racism in the style of 1988’s Willie Horton ad. We cannot remain desensitized. 

Expect a lot more ugliness and absolutely no solutions from Trump today in Eagle Pass, peppered with numerous references to the killing in Georgia. At a time when Americans want a balanced solution to the border and remain supportive of legal immigration and a path to citizenship, Trump’s vitriol is a reminder of the type of divisive leader and demagogue he is and again wants to be. His goal is self-aggrandizement and dividing Americans, period.” 

Worth reading is the reflection from Athens resident and writer Will Leitch on the recent killing of Laken Riley and the larger ugly politicized demagoguery that has been on display subsequently:

“Republican rhetoric around the killing also illustrates how far the bar has fallen for acceptable racial discourse over the last decade. When Trump came down from that escalator in 2015 to announce his presidential campaign, his White House aspirations were not the immediate takeaway from his press conference. It was the fact that he had called Mexicans ‘rapists.’ It led NBC to immediately drop him from The Apprentice and sever their business relationship, proclaiming that ‘respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.’ 

But now, Trump’s notion — that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes and be violent toward ‘normal Americans,’ something that’s empirically, plainly not true and is, of course, a textbook definition of racism — is now not only not taboo and worthy of universal disgust, it is mainstream Republican dogma, even from politicians like Kemp, who had earned a reputation, more because of his resistance to Trump’s claims of voter fraud than any sort of policy stance, as a moderate within the party.”

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