President Donald Trump left many on social media perplexed after he tweeted a quote from Fox News host Lou Dobbs which claimed he "has done more for minority groups in this country than any president in decades.”
The punchline here is, of course, that Trump has been accused of harboring racial animus toward minorities since well before he became president. People immediately pushed back.
That Trump tweeted a comment from Lou Dobbs is rather suspect. Dobbs has expressed frustration over the lack of a wall at our nation's southern border to keep migrants out. He has, among other things, claimed that illegal immigrants are responsible for bringing cases of leprosy to the United States, helped Trump propagate the "birther" myth that former President Barack Obama is not a citizen of the United States, and was the subject of a yearlong investigation which found that he used undocumented workers to maintain his properties.
Trump's history of racial animus is well documented. In the 1980s, he insisted that the Central Park Five, four African American juveniles and one Hispanic juvenile who were convicted of a rape and assault they did not commit, were guilty anyway, even though a convicted rapist and murderer already serving a life sentence in prison confessed to the crime and DNA evidence confirmed his guilt.
Earlier this year, he was criticized for calling Haiti and African nations “shithole countries."
Last week, Trump was accused of taking a talking point straight from the playbook of white nationalists when he said he’d asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures.”
Land reform––more specifically “land restitution”––was one of the promises made by the African National Congress when it came to power in South Africa in 1994, in response to the Native Lands Act of 1913. which “prohibited the establishment of new farming operations, sharecropping or cash rentals by blacks outside of the reserves” on which they were forced to live. White nationalists have claimed that the movement has sparked a “genocide” against white farmers who’ve opposed redistributing lands.
Trump also came under fire on the campaign trail for referring to Mexicans as “rapists" and "murderers."
In the days since the body of Mollie Tibbetts, a Brooklyn, Iowa college student was found, Trump and many conservatives have seized on the fact that the suspect, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, is a Mexican national who authorities say was in the country illegally, and have used the murder to make the case for harsher immigration legislation.
In June. the president and his administration created a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border when he and Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, announced their "zero tolerance" family separations policy.
The president blamed Democrats for the policy, imploring them to “start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration.”
The president denied that he or Sessions had anything to do with the policy, even as he admitted that the policy is a negotiating tool to get Democrats to cave to his demands (which include tougher border security as well as a wall erected along the nation’s southern border).
In a court filing earlier this month, the Department of Justice said that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represents plaintiffs affected by the president's “zero tolerance” family separations policy, should “use their considerable resources and their network of law firms, NGOs, volunteers, and others, together with the information that defendants have provided (or will soon provide)” to reunify deported parents with their children. The Trump administration suggested that the ACLU seek out the parents themselves and ask if they wish to reunite with their children or if they wish to waive that option.
An administration official said yesterday that the filing “simply asks the court to require the ACLU to determine the wishes of and fulfill their obligations to their clients, as they have repeatedly represented in court that they would.“
The ACLU, while eager to reunite parents with their children, argued in court documents that the government “must bear the ultimate burden of finding the parents.”
“Not only was it the government’s unconstitutional separation practice that led to this crisis, but the United States Government has far more resources than any group of NGOs,” ACLU attorneys wrote.
Neither side can agree about what information is appropriate and necessary for the government to provide.