“This was the best Trump campaign speech your tax dollars could buy.”
In a rah-rah event held at Hitchcock Hall at DHS HQ, unlawfully appointed Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf delivered his “State of the Homeland Address,” which amounted to a Trump campaign rally speech, complete with partisanship, lies, omissions and the presentation of an alternative reality in which we do not live.
When not praising President Trump, Wolf enumerated the major threats DHS is protecting America from, including protesters, “unprecedented” illegal immigration and the threat of foreign nation states.
He barely mentioned what is, according to DHS’ own experts, the biggest security threat facing America, white supremecist terror. As Betsy Woodruff Swan noted for Politico on Friday, DHS’ own experts are highlighting that white supremacists are the deadliest top priority threat:
White supremacists present the gravest terror threat to the United States, according to a draft report from the Department of Homeland Security. Two later draft versions of the same document — all of which were reviewed by POLITICO — describe the threat from white supremacists in slightly different language. But all three drafts describe the threat from white supremacists as the deadliest domestic terror threat facing the U.S., listed above the immediate danger from foreign terrorist groups.
In keeping with Trump campaign themes, unlawfully appointed DHS Acting Secretary Wolf spent the bulk of the speech addressing the threat of “foreigners seeking to harm and kill Americans.” This included blaming China and the World Health Organization for the horrid American effort against COVID-19, which has claimed 190 thousand lives, and painting an overly rosy picture of the Trump response.
On immigration, Wolf praised President Trump’s signature (literally) obsession, the border wall, while outrageously claiming that the “remain in Mexico” policy of sending asylum seekers out of the country without a hearing or oversight is done to benefit migrants and keep them safe. He reiterated that he sees most asylum claims as frivolous, not the desperate act of people fleeing violence. He even claimed that cooperation agreements with Central American “partners” were “allowing migrants to seek protection closer to home.”
According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:
This was the best Trump campaign speech your tax dollars could buy.
The speech was pretty typical Trump campaign fare – right down to the fact that it was being delivered at taxpayer expense inside a federal building as part of the official duties of a government official. It’s important to note that the Trump official who delivered it – as well as the Trump official who introduced him, Ken Cuccinelli – are serving in their senior government positions illegally because Trump went around the normal appointment process and hid them from the ‘advice and consent’ of the U.S. Congress.
In Chad Wolf’s alternative reality, COVID-19 has been handled effectively and the biggest threat facing the United States comes from foreign actors – most especially China and immigrants – and from peaceful protestors and others in American cities. There was scarcely a mention of what DHS’ own experts have identified as the gravest terror threat to the U.S., violent white supremecists. I suppose that is not surprising given that President Trump sees white supremecists as a key demographic in his political base. The President has gone out of his way not to denigrate the racist element of his base, including those who marched with tiki torches in Charlottesville, those who show up at peaceful demonstrations with guns and have used them to kill protesters, or those who ascribe to QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
Foreigners seeking to harm and kill Americans is a central campaign theme for President Trump, so Chad Wolf spent the bulk of the speech on these themes because, let’s face it, the main audience for the speech was the President himself. And Wolf did not disappoint his boss.
But to the American people, who have soured significantly on the President on immigration and security issues, the biggest issues related to immigration relate to the Trump administration policy of taking children from their parents to punish the parents for seeking asylum; ending DACA and TPS making hundreds of thousands of deeply rooted immigrants deportable again; and the way that Trump, Wolf and their henchmen have systematically stripped agencies like FEMA and the military of funding in order to build an ineffective border wall.
While Wolf stated that DHS ‘stands against all enemies’ who seek to destroy us, in keeping with the Trump campaign talking points he was seeking to advance, he conveniently left out the threats most closely aligned with the President.