Donald Trump — April 6, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Trump’s ‘animals’ comment shows what he was thinking as he orphaned thousands of kids


Trump’s comments came during the period when he was most actively caging and orphaning kids

This tweet resurfacing Donald Trump’s comments calling immigrants “animals” went viral this weekend:

Yes, this actual comment was made on May 16, 2018.

Members of the press — a profession Trump again smeared as “enemies” this week despite several instances of his fans plotting to murder his enemies, in addition to Trump applauding an actual attack on a reporter — sought to earn bonus points by pointing out that the comment wasn’t specifically about asylum seekers and adding other “context.”

This also happened in May of 2018 when Trump spoke these words and Republicans sought to gaslight anyone who was honest about the obvious racism of his words.

Reporters want to be careful, though from the moment he announced his 2016 campaign Trump’s entire rhetorical game has been obvious. He aims to label all immigrants as criminals, while throwing in slight vague exceptions to provide plausible deniability to those who might shy away from obvious racist propaganda.

“Dehumanizing rhetoric works in exactly this way: It slaps the dehumanizing slur on the least sympathetic subgroup and then conflates that subgroup with the larger group that is the real target, then piously feigns innocence of any intention to tag the slur on the larger group,” as Greg Sargent noted at the time.

Everyone knows what Trump is doing here.

He continually lies and fictionalizes stories to create hype and fear to justify his cruel unnecessary policies that have failed in every measurable way, except in their pure “ignorance, laziness, lies, corruption, incompetence,” as Bloomberg‘s Francis Wilkinson noted.

Those who compare Trump’s rhetoric on immigration the early stages of the Third Reich are correct.

While pundits and reporters were busy improperly giving Trump the benefit of the doubt about his “animals” comment in the middle May of 2018, the Trump administration was at the height of its family separation policy at the border.

At least 2,600 children were taken from their families at the border. “The total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown,” according to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

Since these children have been effectively orphaned, the administration has argued that they should not be reunited with their parents or other relatives for years because it might traumatize them, though experts argue that continuing to force these kids to endure the “toxic stress” of separation is the far greater risk.

Trump’s constant smearing of all immigrants, even asylum seekers, is what matters here. Trump’s casual use of racist/Nazi terminology like “infest” is the context that matters here. Trump’s willingness to go beyond words to use his power to permanently traumatize children is the context that matters here.

Removing that context when Trump ties his rhetoric into knots we wrestle with as he commits further atrocities only makes us his accomplice.

You know who doesn’t have any trouble figuring out who Trump is targeting with his hate speech? His fans.

Or maybe the fact that counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes is just another odd coincidence.