As we highlighted yesterday, when Trump and his GOP enablers get scared of losing, they reach for their political comfort food: they appeal to racism, traffic in xenophobia, and recklessly signal to White supremacists that violence in the service of aiding Trump might be necessary. We predict it will backfire politically.
As the examples below show, subtle they are not:
- “Turn Minnesota into a refugee camp:” Trump attacks Rep. Omar and embraces ugly xenophobia at campaign rally and in new ads: At a Duluth, MN rally yesterday, President Trump said, “Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp … You know that. It’s already there. It’s a disgrace what they’ve done to your state.” He also continued his ugly attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar – an American success story – stating, “she tells us how to run our country!” In addition, the Trump campaign is out with a Facebook ad campaign continuing its anti-refugee fear-mongering with 15-second and 30-second video ads focused on Syrian, Somalian, and Yemeni refugees. As Ron Brownstein observed, “his message to his voters is that people of color, big cities, liberals are interlopers in the real America-their White Christian America. Anyone still in his coalition can have no illusions about the racism embedded in its core.”
- Trump administration proposes lowest-ever number of refugee admissions for coming year: Directly related to his ugly anti-refugee screeds and attacks on Biden and Omar, the Trump administration last night proposed the U.S. admit a record-low number of refugee admissions for FY 2021 – 15,000 total, which would be 3,000 lower than FY 2020. Given our national pride in being a beacon for refugees fleeing for their lives, this is a disgrace.
- DHS talking points encourage sympathy with Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse: NBC News reports that Trump’s DHS created internal talking points that instructed officials “to make comments sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse,” the Trump supporter who shot and killed two in Kenosha. Internal DHS talking points suggested administration spokespeople that they note that he “took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners.” There’s a through line between the Trump administration’s racism, their sympathies and calls to action to white supremacists and other supporters, and multiple instances of real world violence.
- Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler’s new ad: “attack the far-left again, gather the troops.” Kelly Loeffler is out with the third installment of her racist ad series comparing herself to Attila. The latest ad includes a call to “eliminate amnesty” and includes a disturbing riff from a soldier, who says: “attack the far-left again, gather the troops.” (See AV’s 2020 Ad Watch website for a searchable data base of other racist, xenophobic and ‘dog whistle’ campaign ads, such as the Republican’s Senate Leadership Fund’s “new” ad in Iowa, recycling ugly past GOP and Trump attacks about “illegal immigrants.”)
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
A multiracial majority is gathering momentum. We want to forge a multiracial democracy that includes refugees and immigrants as members of the American family. Most Americans reject the divisiveness and hate that have become the central tenet of Trump’s campaign and Trump’s GOP. That is why in 2018, when Trump reached for racism and xenophobia, it backfired, and Republicans suffered the biggest midterm drubbing in American history. That is why in 2020, as Trump and GOP candidates reach for racism and xenophobia, we predict it will backfire again. That is because the majority of us reject an America based on blood and soil in favor of an America based on E pluribus unum, Out of Many, One.