“They’re rapists.” “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” “But you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”
Now in his latest racist comment, Donald Trump referred on Wednesday to people trying to cross the border into the U.S. as “not people” but “animals” (above).
To be fair to the POTUS, he was responding to a question about MS-13. So in that context he might have just been referring to immigrant gang members. That’s certainly what his supporters are arguing.
But since conservatives want to talk about context, let’s put that in the bigger context of the picture Trump has been painting of immigrants as a whole.
Under his rule, ICE has been separating families, deporting members of our armed services, and even setting up detention centers that look suspiciously like internment camps.
His rhetoric only ever refers to immigrants in the same breath as criminals and terrorists — a big part of his platform is engendering fear of The Other. And dehumanization is a big part of that.
So in Trumpspeak, ANIMALS = CRIMINALS = IMMIGRANTS. That’s the message. That has always been the message.
And we weren’t the only ones who heard it loud and clear. Ch-ch-check out some of the strongest responses to his comments (below):
ICE is deporting people who├óΓé¼Γäóve served multiple tours in the US Military. Something Officer Bone Spurs never did. They├óΓé¼Γäóre deporting people who love America more than Trump will ever pretend to. Are they the “animals,” Donny boy?? Shame on him. https://t.co/QPGQFDdZNq
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) May 17, 2018
Anyone with a cursory understanding of rhetoric knows exactly what is happening when, in the context of sanctuary cities, Trump blasts MS-13 and calls them animals. And it├óΓé¼Γäós rich to see conservatives yell “context” when that context isn├óΓé¼Γäót actually exculpatory.
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) May 17, 2018
You can argue Trump’s animals comment was only in reference to MS-13 but how about when he said Mexican migrants are rapists, that Haitians all have AIDS, that Africa and Haiti are “shithole countries” and defended Neo Nazis. Let’s not pretend we don’t know what he means.
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Katy Stoll (@katystoll) May 17, 2018
Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”
Donald Trump: “These aren├óΓé¼Γäót people. These are animals”
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Edward Hardy (@EdwardTHardy) May 17, 2018
I think it’s fair to say Trump’s “they’re animals” comment was in reference to MS-13, not immigrants at large.
I think it’s also fair to point out the inhumanity of Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families and storing them in military warehouses.
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Sam Stein (@samstein) May 17, 2018
The bigger question isn├óΓé¼Γäót if he or his administration consider all immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, “animals.” It is whether Trump and co. have a habit of using the worst criminal examples to help justify a cruel policy that destroys the lives of countless who do no harm
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) May 17, 2018
Trump said that undocumented immigrants are “animals” and now everyone’s saying that he meant MS-13 members. Whenever Trump brings up immigration, he immediately groups all immigrants with violent people. It’s a race baiting tactic that got all of the racists to support him now.
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Carlos (@bIazingxmexican) May 17, 2018
It doesn’t matter if Trump was only talking about gang members when he used the word “animals” to refer to immigrants since ICE’s policy is, when they want an immigrant out, to lie and say he’s a gang member. To wit: https://t.co/DVdZeLC14o
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) May 17, 2018
The “talking about racism triggers conservatives” trope is a rigged game. Either you give Trump a pass when he calls immigrants animals (yes, he was referring to essentially all of them) or you├óΓé¼Γäóre in league with MS-13. Shit-eating bad faith from top to bottom. pic.twitter.com/isAjfTLkr3
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) May 17, 2018