Washington Post looks back on a year of courage, revelations and controversy
The Washington Post yesterday published a look back at a year’s worth of coverage regarding the Trump business empire’s reliance and exploitation of undocumented workers. The story, written by Joshua Partlow and David Fahrenthold, reveals the incredible bravery of the workers who decided to speak out and denounce a boss who emerged as a powerful purveyor of dehumanizing rhetoric and cruel policies. Their decision to come forward, one of the workers said, was not for themselves, but for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live and work here in the United States.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
As Trump works relentlessly to ‘other’ immigrants as threats to the American way of life, this story captures how Sandra and Vicky, the two workers who stood up to the most powerful man in the world, are in fact more American than their unscrupulous former employer. They have spoken truth to power, found their voices, called out exploitation and abuse, and advocated for legal status for undocumented workers.
Meanwhile, through their story-telling, Trump is revealed to be cruel, opportunistic and more than willing to dehumanize undocumented immigrants while relying on them to tend to his properties, press his underwear and set out his face makeup. Their courage points the way toward reform that starts with undocumented workers being formally recognized as the Americans they already are and includes targeted measures that crack down on bad-actor employers such as Trump.
The article is excerpted below and can be read in full here
For decades, and well into Trump’s presidency, illegal immigrants lived as Trump’s shadow family — ever present, if rarely considered…
This transactional relationship of discreet service for long hours and often low pay began to evolve as Trump entered politics on the promise to keep out the upward-striving immigrant workers who crumbed his table and scoured his toilets. When Trump referred to some Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, when he vowed to wall off the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent an immigrant “invasion,” the worry and anger began to build in the kitchens and laundry rooms of his properties.
Trump’s undocumented workers were forced to smile at the stomach-churning comments from wealthy members once he became president. “You’re still here? How come we can’t get rid of you? I’m going to call Trump, you [expletive] Mexican,” Gabriel Juarez, who had been head waiter for a decade at one of Trump’s New York golf clubs, said a member told him jokingly.
It fell to them to scrub off the anti-Trump graffiti scrawled across the mirrors in the men’s locker room at Bedminster one day, and grit their teeth through pep talks by supervisors that they said echoed the boss’s stump speeches: “Now don’t forget, let’s make Mar-a-Lago great again.”
So one day, Diaz, along with Victorina Morales, her successor as Trump’s housekeeper at Bedminster, decided to be seen.
When they spoke in articles in The Post, the New York Times and other publications beginning last December, it was not for money — as some of their shocked and frightened colleagues assumed — or really for politics, they said, but to highlight what they consider a glaring hypocrisy.
Trump, despite his rhetoric, had long employed illegal immigrants, and they were the living proof.
A year later, Diaz and Morales no longer work for Trump. No one is known to have been deported because of the women’s actions, and there is no evidence of legal repercussions for Trump or his company. But the pair have endured the anger of friends and colleagues who say they have betrayed a code of silence that permeates the nation’s underground economy.
They say it was worth it.
“How can you know something so big, how someone — who goes on national television and says something — and you know it’s not true,” Diaz explained. “Whether it’s the president or not, you have the responsibility to say no. To pass through this barrier of fear and say no.”