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“Distractor-in-Chief”: Observers Call Out Trump’s Politically Motivated Immigration Ban

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Leading voices from across the political spectrum are rightfully calling out President Trump’s immigration ban as a transparent and politically motivated attempt to distract attention away from his ongoing mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: “Donald Trump has become the Distractor-in-Chief. He’s more interested in flattening the curve of America’s growing distrust of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic than in saving our lives. The latest immigration ‘ban’ is nothing more than another warmed-over anti-immigrant maneuver out of his xenophobic bag of tricks.”

  • Wall Street Journal editorial, “Trump’s Immigration Distractionnotes, “Immigrants in this pandemic are providing ‘essential’ work like farm labor, meat packing, food preparation and grocery delivery that are helping the country endure … The White House also concedes all this by leaking that Mr. Trump’s order will carve out exceptions for farm and health-care workers. He should unless he wants crops rotting in the fields and Covid-19 patients to go untreated … All of which suggests that Mr. Trump’s real calculation here is political …  With his approval rating down, Mr. Trump may feel he needs to return to one of his favorite 2016 themes.”
  • Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, “Trump’s latest campaign ploy is disgusting — and it will fail,” highlighting the new America’s Voice report on how Republican reliance on xenophobia keeps failing. Sargent writes, “President Trump rarely bothers to conceal his basest motives, which may explain why he revealed that his new suspension of immigration is a rank reelection ploy even before the policy was complete … A new report from pro-immigrant America’s Voice provides an accounting of how often this tactic has failed Republicans during the Trump era. Because Trump won in 2016, pundits remain reluctant to acknowledge that this anti-immigrant demagoguery has been unsuccessfully wielded by an extraordinarily long series of failed GOP campaigns in the three years since.”
  • Maryland GOP Governor Larry Hogan: “A Distraction from What’s Really Going On,” stating on ABC’s “The View,” “I try not to pay any attention to the tweets from the president … I think it’s just a distraction from what’s really going on.”
  • Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer:Trump’s pronouncements about freezing immigration are ‘scary’ for immigrants, family members hoping to immigrate to the U.S., farmers who rely on seasonal migrant workers and Canadian nurses who work in Michigan, the Democratic governor said in an interview with the Associated Press. ‘These broad statements that come out I think are are so problematic and counter to I think what we need right now more than anything — which is fact based scientifically proven, best practices and an optimistic vision of where we are headed and the thrust to make it a reality.’”
  • Los Angeles Times editorial, Trump’s new immigration is just more of his tired political posturing,” noting, “It’s no coincidence that his call for a ban on new immigrants dovetails with one of his signature campaign issues at a time when the vibrant economy he had planned to campaign on has cratered. This is about saving one job — the president’s.”
  • Syndicated conservative columnist Max Boot, “Trump can’t defeat the coronavirus. But he can wage war on immigrants,” writing, “President Trump has led the United States to catastrophic defeat in the battle against a virus … So having lost the war against what he calls the “Invisible Enemy,” Trump has decided to shift our attention toward the battle against a visible enemy: immigrants … This is a familiar maneuver from Trump’s xenophobic playbook …  It is obscene at any time, but all the more so now when the coronavirus crisis is proving just how much we depend on immigrants.”
  • Aaron Blake in the Washington Post,Facing coronavirus criticism, Trump reaches for his favorite remedy: An immigration ban,” noting, “…for a president who has been criticized for doing so little, it will provide him grist for the political mill and something to hail as concrete action — no matter, as with the wall, the actual efficacy of the move and whether the experts were even asking for it.”
  • Syndicated conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin writes, “Trump’s latest immigration stunt is one of his most obvious and desperate since the coronavirus began. His tweets, news conferences, attacks on the media and Democrats and nonstop attempts to rewrite history have not worked to persuade members of the public to disregard what is in front of their eyes: the worst domestic crisis of their lifetimes, made more devastating by an incompetent narcissist.”