East Coast journalists ‘white ‘splain’ that Trump’s policies don’t mean he really hates Hispanic immigrants
by Ruben Navarrette Jr.
I feel better. As a Mexican American journalist who has written about the immigration debate from ground zero — i.e., the Southwest — for three decades, and who has watched closely as Donald Trump turned that conversation into a dumpster fire, I was so relieved to have journalists in New York and Washington “white ‘splain” to me that Trump doesn’t really hate Hispanic immigrants.
It leaves me more time to enjoy my tacos.
In their book, “Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration,” New York Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear suggest that President Trump’s crackdown on the U.S.-Mexico border — from building barriers to separating families to caging children — is motivated more by ego than by hatred of brown-skinned foreigners.
The book leaves the impression that — while it’s obvious that Trump doesn’t welcome immigrants from Africa or Haiti — his determination to hold the line against Mexicans and Central American border crossers is “amoral rather than motivated by hatred.” Forbes contributor Stuart Anderson concurs with the authors’ assessment, noting that Trump is mostly worried about “the higher numbers at the border making him look bad.”
Spare me from the ignorance of the elites. That’s how white journos on the East Coast do business. They only see black and white. They readily accept that Trump is racist toward black immigrants. But suggest that this racism extends to brown immigrants, and you lose them.
Trump was right. His immigration tantrums do make him look bad. Because it’s clear that, for him, this is a crusade.
It’s obvious that Trump has taken on, as his personal cause, the need to wrestle the country away from Hispanics and reverse the cultural slide of white Americans. This should come as no secret to those who pay attention.
Of course, the national media doesn’t pay much attention to Hispanics — not named J. Lo. Not even when one of them is running for president and given just eight minutes of speaking time in a debate that lasted more than two hours.
How has Trump mistreated Hispanics since he declared that he was running for president in June 2015? I can think of at least 15 times that the president has walloped his favorite piñata.
— As a presidential candidate, Trump declared that Mexico is “not sending their best” but instead ridding itself of those who are “bringing drugs … bringing crime.”
— Trump praised the awful 1953 deportation program Operation Wetback, which removed many U.S.-born Hispanics, and called for a “deportation force” to replicate it.
— Trump took a jab at Jeb Bush’s Mexican-born wife, Columba, by tweeting that “#JebBush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.”
— Trump questioned whether federal judge Gonzalo Curiel — a native born U.S. citizen — could be fair in a case against him since “he’s a Mexican.”
— After claiming that his immigration crackdown wasn’t aimed at any particular country, he promised, during a presidential debate, to deport “bad hombres.”
— Trump has repeatedly called illegal immigration from Mexico an “invasion,” the same word used by the shooter in the El Paso massacre where 22 people died.
— Trump fed the stereotype of Hispanics-as-criminals by making the Salvadoran gang, MS-13, a Willie Horton-type boogeyman.
— As president, Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio after the former Maricopa County Sheriff was found guilty of racially profiling Hispanics and defying court orders.
— Trump targeted legal immigration by supporting legislation that would have cut it in half with a skills-based system.
— Trump ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and thus left more than 600,000 undocumented young people subject to deportation.
— Trump took aim at “anchor babies” by challenging the 14th Amendment, which makes clear that U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants are U.S. citizens.
— Trump handed control of immigration policy to the villainous Stephen Miller, who seems to have never met a Hispanic he liked.
— Trump separated thousands of families of Central American refugees and put scores of children in cages, with insufficient supplies of food and water.
— Trump is building a “big beautiful wall” despite the fact that militarizing the border has previously resulted in many migrant deaths.
— During a visit to New Mexico, Trump singled out a few Hispanic supporters and crassly bellowed: “We love our Hispanics!”
Sorry, Mr. President. But with polls showing they disapprove of your job performance by a 2-to-1 margin, most Hispanics don’t love you back.
Ruben Navarrette is a nationally syndicated columnist with The Washington Post Writers Group whose twice-a-week column appears in nearly 150 newspapers. Ruben Navarrette’s email address is email@example.com.