During a meeting about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Donald Trump reportedly said that he didn’t want immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and the African continent. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
“I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that Oval Office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin told the media. (Trump denied saying this.)
National Review journalist David French recently went on Meet the Press Daily to discuss the ramifications of this statement.
Meet the Press Daily‘s Chuck Todd: David, what are the consequences of many Americans believing Donald Trump is a racist now?
National Review‘s David French: Well, I’ll tell you one thing right off the bat. You can the polarization we already have in this country, and dial it to eleven. This is not about this one word in isolation, it’s not just about this one conversation in isolation, it’s about all of these conversations — taken together — since the beginning of his campaign and the conduct of his business. It tells an entire class of Americans that there is now an extraordinary amount of evidence that he does not view you in the same way that he views many members of his core constituency. That he is not necessarily for you in the same way that he is for many members of his core constituency. It says, to an awful lot of Americans, that he is doubling down on identity politics. He is tacking identity politics to nationality and to race. That takes polarization and that magnifies it. And that magnifies it, I think, to an even more dangerous level.
French: So at this point I don’t think anybody has a good answer to that. Nobody knows what to do. People in the White House beg him not to tweet crazy things, they beg him not to say crazy things, but he does what he wants to do, he says what he wants to say. At the same time, you’ve got Republicans who want to push through policies that conservatives like me believe are good for this country. There’s a real fear: if we burn all these bridges, can we get all these policies through? If we don’t come out strongly and attack him, are there greater consequences? At the end of the day, though, you have to default back to “what is the right thing to do?” The right thing to do is to condemn any effort to divide this country by race, any effort to divide the immigrant community by race. That is so incredibly toxic — not only morally, but it’s especially toxic given the unique history of this country.
There’s much more to the interview, including a moment when Todd asks French about what to tell his kids about this not-so-Presidential statement.
Watch the full segment below:
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