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Coronavirus: Observers Blast Trump and GOP for “Blame the Immigrants” Scapegoating

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A Growing Threat: A Virus Called Xenophobia

We’ve been pointing out and predicting that President Trump and his allies would shift hard to xenophobia and scapegoating immigrants in an effort to distract attention from their coronavirus mismanagement. Thankfully, their ugly effort is both inappropriate and transparent and drawing condemnation from many observers. Below we excerpt key and related quotes and comments:

  • Miriam Elder in Buzzfeed, “Fox News And Donald Trump Are Embracing Xenophobia To Defend Against The Coronavirus”: after extensively monitoring Fox News Channel coverage, Elder notes: “Trump’s allies in Washington and on Fox News have ramped up their rhetoric against China, as they are faced with a core dilemma: how to prepare the population for severe disruptions while ensuring no blowback on the man in the White House? At least part of the answer seems to be: xenophobia … On Monday night, two of the network’s three main opinion hosts — Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham — leaned heavily into the fact that the virus originated in China and that any response should further isolate the US from the country.”
  • Julissa Arce in Crooked Media, “Trump Ramps Up Racist Coronavirus Scapegoating: Arce writes, “our progress toward containing the virus, finding solutions, saving lives, and preventing our economy from collapsing can likely be measured in inverse proportion to the volume of the administration’s racist propaganda. And by that measure, we’re sliding into calamity.”
  • Adam Serwer of The Atlantic’s Twitter thread on Trumpism’s “blame foreigners” solution: The entire thread is worth reading, assessing the reasons why, “White identity politics is the essence of Trumpism. Every problem, regardless of nature, origin, or circumstance, is the fault of nefarious “foreigners” (whether Americans or not) and the solution is always state prejudice, violence, or exclusion.”
  • Maggie Haberman of the New York Times on the inevitability of Trump’s “build the wall” spin: Haberman tweeted, “Inevitable that the virus – which in fact is more prevalent in the US than in Mexico – would become justification for building the wall.”
  • Chris Hayes of MSNBC – maybe we should build the wall to keep Mexico safe: In response to Haberman’s tweet, and in light of the fact that Mexico has only seven confirmed cases, Hayes sarcastically tweeted, “If we build the wall fast enough we might be able to spare Mexico the worst of the outbreak.”
  • Rep. Grace Meng blasts Kevin McCarthy’s racist tweet: Rep. Meng condemned GOP Leader McCarthy’s racist and transparent attempt to distract attention from Trump’s mismanagement, noting: “I’m embarrassed to be his colleague. I’m so disgusted. We await his apology to the nation, the Chinese-American and #AAPI community and to his own constituents.”
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demands McCarthy apology: Pelosi noted, “Bigoted statements which spread misinformation and blame Asians and the Asian American community for #coronavirus make us all less safe. @GOPLeader must delete this tweet and apologize immediately.”

According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

This is blatant fear-mongering and xenophobia to distract from the fact that the Trump administration messed up big time. They had ample time to prepare for coronavirus and didn’t. Reports point out that the administration didn’t listen to warnings, they didn’t allow early testing or allocate money for research into vaccines already in the works, they took money from the NIH and CDC and have actively worked to keep the reported number of cases down by limiting testing.

People are sick and dying from coronavirus because the Trump administration mishandled this entire crisis. And they still are. That’s why, per usual, the administration is resorting to using the Trump doctrine, when things are going badly, point the finger at immigrants and start chanting ‘build the wall.’

Trump’s inability to demonstrate leadership or empathy or to work well with experts and others who could help address the serious public health issues our nation faces exposes him in ways that are making him and his followers rely on the predictable pivot to talking about the border and doubling down on anti-Chinese rhetoric to keep the heat off of Trump.
But no amount of lying or finger pointing can save them this time. The American people can see straight through this transparent attempt to deceive them.

This is a health crisis exacerbated by the Trump administration’s incompetence, this is not an immigration issue. Building the wall, sending troops to the border, and sending CBP paramilitary SWAT units to American cities are not helpful in fighting a virus, nor is hopeful lying to the American people that all is well and nothing to see here.

We need a leader that brings us together to marshall America’s can-do spirit to address a common threat of the coronavirus, rather than making Americans fear other members of our communities and deflecting blame and responsibility.