In the history of the United States there have been presidents and leaders who were xenophobic, racist, extremist, and of course, slaveholders.
According to this list from the Washington Post, they made any of these 10 accusations against immigrants:
- Immigrants bring crime
- Immigrants prolong poverty
- Immigrants spread dangerous diseases
- They do not assimilate to our country
- They corrupt the ethics of our political life
- Our jobs are stolen by immigrants
- They cause our taxes to rise
- They constitute a risk to national security
- Their religion is incompatible with the American way of life
- They will never be true Americans
Hatred is good for business
But Trump has been the only one to accuse immigrants of all 10 charges.
No other President was like him. None of them has been even compared to Trump, who is the worst of them.
These days, Trump embodies the sum of the neo-fascist ideology that is sweeping the world. And of all the xenophobes in the US, he is the most dangerous. What makes him more dangerous than any previous nationalist is the size of his audience and the unheard-of devotion of his supporters.
This is an incomplete list of Trump’s actions and expressions during his public life, that is, before and after his presidency (2017-2021) against immigrants and minorities.
And as an explanation: hate is good for business. A study by the Anti-Defamation League found that in counties that hosted Trump rallies in 2016, hate crimes increased 226% in the months that followed. These were acts of pure violence, compared to counties where there were no rallies.
The Birther movement
Trump led a movement that for years promoted the lie that Barack Obama, the first African-American president, was not born in the country and therefore his presidency is illegal. This conspiracy theory constituted, it later became known, his initial gambit in the electoral campaign that would lead him to the presidency. He never proved anything, but instead of backing down he announced that he would not pursue his investigation because he had accomplished his mission. That was true. By then he was already President.
The Central Park Five
In 1989 a white woman was attacked and raped while jogging in Central Park in New York. Five teenagers – four African Americans and one Latino – were sentenced to long years in prison. Trump – then a fame-seeking real estate mogul – published a full-page petition in local newspapers demanding that they be executed: “TAKE BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. GIVE US BACK OUR POLICE!” the ad rang out. Years later the real attacker confessed. The youths were eventually acquitted and released. Trump not only refused to apologize, but to this day he insists that «there is evidence for both sides, they confessed,» referring to the confession beaten out by police.
And what about the Mexicans
During his theatrical campaign announcement for the presidency in 2015, Trump launched a tirade against Mexicans – referring with this to all Latin Americans who immigrate to the United States, defining them as criminals, drug addicts and rapists. Although «some, I assume, are good people.» In truth, immigrants commit significantly fewer crimes than natives.
The Jewish Question
Trump defends himself against accusations of anti-Semitism by saying that «I am the least anti-Semitic person you have ever seen in your entire life», because his daughter had converted to Judaism to marry Jared Kushner, and his grandchildren are Jewish. In July 2016, he posted on Twitter an image of his opponent Hillary Clinton against the background of $100 bills and a Star of David, a symbol of Judaism. He refused to apologize. His campaign removed the tweet, then reposted it without the star. He criticized them, saying: «They shouldn’t have removed it… They should have left it… I would have preferred to defend it.»
During his first campaign, to an audience of Republican Jews he said: «You like me only because my daughter is Jewish,» and «I’m a dealmaker like you folks; we are negotiators… This room negotiates maybe more than any room I’ve talked to, maybe more.» Speaking to another Jewish group, he said «you’re going to be my biggest supporters because you’ll be out of business in about 15 minutes» if the Democrats win.
Already as President, in 2019 and speaking bluntly before the American-Israel Council in Florida, he said he was not worried about getting the audience’s votes from him, because «they will vote for me to protect his wealth.» On the same occasion he accused other Jews of «not loving Israel enough.»
The incident led among others to this post on Twitter: “Hahaha Jews won’t vote for the candidate who wants a wealth tax because Jews love wealth, get it hahaha, it’s funny…”
This insistence by Trump on using anti-Semitic tropes when speaking to Jewish audiences repeated itself many times.
Love for neo-Nazis
In 2017, neo-Nazi groups paraded through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. A counter-protester was killed when one of Trump’s supporters deliberately ran over her. Reacting to the scandal, Trump said that «both sides are somewhat to blame,» and about the neo-Nazis he said, «very good people on both sides.» He had, in subsequent years, multiple opportunities to recant. Instead, true to his «principle» of never admitting a mistake, he insists that «my answers were perfect.»
The boycott of Muslims
Less than a week after taking office in January 2017, and “following” an election promise, Trump issued Executive Order 13769, banning citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the country.
The edict was in force for less than two months, during which more than 700 travelers were detained at airports and some 60,000 visas were «provisionally revoked». Several courts suspended its implementation. The order was replaced by 13780, an imitation created only to avoid being considered in court an act against the Muslim world. This order was also declared unconstitutional two months later by a federal judge, who determined that it was motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment and violated the Establishment Clause. the Constitution. Parts of the order though survived the scrutiny of the Trump-friendly Supreme Court. President Biden struck them down on the first day of his presidency.
In July 2019, he insisted on the concept that members of «inferior» races are not really Americans when he insulted four African-American or Latina congresswomen, all of them Democrats, urging them to go back to the countries they came from, which he called «a hellhole.» These were representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna S. Pressley. Three of the four are native to the United States.
Instead of apologizing, he insisted that they hated America and that the first two Muslim women elected to Congress sympathized with al Qaeda.
Baltimore, Chicago, dirty cities
For years she has insulted majority African-American cities like Baltimore and Chicago, describing them as a «disgusting rat and rodent infested mess» where «no human being» would «want to live.» Then, instead of apologizing, he said that thousands of African-Americans called the White House to thank him for his tirade. “They called me and said that finally someone is telling the truth.”
That same week, a poll showed that Trump’s approval rating as president among the African-American community was 6%, and that 80% of them classified him as an «unrepentant racist.»
He used language that he expressly reserves for insulting African-Americans specifically.
In 2018 he publicly wondered “why do we allow all these people from shithole countries to come here”. Of the Haitian refugees he said that all have AIDS. Of the children of recent undocumented immigrants who were born in the United States, and who by the Constitution are Americans in everything, he said they are not real Americans.
Trump has been a source of inspiration and solace for murderers like the one who killed 11 people who were praying in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018 and who justified his acts by quoting the tycoon. In 2020, ABC founr 54 cases invoking ‘Trump’ in connection with violence, threats, and alleged assaults.
If he is re-elected – and he currently has almost a 50% chance – he will be much worse than in his first term. He will be unleashed. He will prosecute and imprison all his perceived enemies. He is the only one capable of getting millions of Americans out onto the streets. They are with him, whatever he says, whatever he does.
This article was supported in whole or in part by funds provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library and the Latino Media Collaborative.
Fundador y co-editor de HispanicLA. Editor en jefe del diario La Opinión en Los Ángeles hasta enero de 2021.
Nació en Buenos Aires, Argentina, vivió en Israel y reside en Los Ángeles, California. Es periodista, bloguero, poeta, novelista y cuentista. Fue director editorial de Huffington Post Voces entre 2011 y 2014 y editor de noticias, también para La Opinión. Anteriormente, corresponsal de radio. Tiene tres hijos adultos que son, dice, "la luz de mi vida".