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In a story titled, “Trump Reached a New Level of Apocalyptic Fearmongering at His Pennsylvania Rally,” Esquire recaps some of the disturbing details and implications of President Trump’s viciously xenophobic rally held this week in Hershey, PA (with embedded disturbing video clips of the rally). As the piece, authored by Jack Holmes, notes:
For Donald Trump, American president, the only undocumented immigrants who merit a mention are murderers and rapists. The guy who works 12-hour days in construction does not get a shoutout. The women who work as housekeepers at his own goddamn properties do not feature in his rally speeches. This is not a coincidence. While he’ll occasionally grant that some, I assume, are good people, the overwhelming impression the president wishes to leave is that the United States is experiencing an invasion of dangerous criminals who want to kill your family and transform The America You Know and Love into a land you do not recognize.
…This is classic propaganda, using a few of the very worst examples in a group as representative of the whole—in contradiction of the broader evidence—and upping the fear quotient with lurid details. There’s also the inescapable fact that “illegal immigrant” is a racialized term in America … The people our president wants you to think are coming to kill you are brown.
In the Washington Post, Philip Bump writes, “Within an hour, Tucker Carlson and President Trump embrace broad disparagements of immigrants,” recapping a particularly ugly – and typical – segment by Carlson on Fox News that portrayed immigrants in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional district as dirty and un-American. But the sections of Bump’s piece dealing with Trump’s Hershey rally capture an especially important point:
On Tuesday night in Hershey, Pa., President Trump offered an assessment of immigrants so familiar that it largely passed without notice.
‘Thanks to Democrat immigration policies,’ he said at a campaign rally, ‘innocent Americans in all 50 states are being brutalized and murdered by illegal alien criminals.’
… That Trump’s comments received so little commentary is a sign of the extent to which his rhetoric has faded into the background of his presidency.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
No, we’re not surprised. But we are shocked. Yes, we have come to expect this type of inflammatory, divisive and virulently racist language from President Trump. But no, none of this should be tolerated or explained away with a ‘there he goes again’ shrug of the shoulders.
The beating heart of Trumpism has been and remains racism and xenophobia. But the reality that a U.S. president in the 21st century is running on racial incitement and the ‘othering’ of millions of Americans must never be normalized.
If that wasn’t already self-evident, the president’s xenophobia is fueling white supremacist violence — in El Paso, in Pittsburgh, and through everyday instances of hate, such the recent acid attack in Milwaukee against a Latino man (see this recent column from David Torres, published in English as “The Metaphor of Anti-Immigrant Hate In a Bottle of Acid”).
We expect Trump to get uglier as Election Day approaches. For him, there is no bottom. And we no longer harbor any hopes that Republicans in Congress will call him out or rein him in. What we do expect and hope is that a majority of our nation — disgusted with his hateful incitement and rank xenophobia — will rise up at the ballot box to send an unmistakable message next November. In an America aspiring to achieve freedom, justice and equality for one and all, regardless of background or birthplace, politicians who deliberately dehumanize our neighbors and loved ones must be rejected by the body politic.
The alternative is a nation anchored in blood and soil rather than E Pluribus Unum.