Trump’s speech on June 13th destroyed any hope by Republicans that he would pivot to the center or temper his language in an attempt to appear more Presidential. That moderated Trump lasted for a minute or so into his prepared remarks.
Then the RealDonaldTrump returned to take advantage of this national tragedy. He doubled down on his agenda of bigotry and xenophobia.
In no uncertain terms, he claimed that the very existence of our country was at risk because of Muslim refugees, immigrants, and even American citizens. He not only reiterated his call for a “temporary” ban on Muslim immigrants but threatened “big consequences” for Muslims living in this country if they failed to report suspected terrorists.
In doing so, Trump aligned himself with the far right nationalist anti-immigrant European movements.
Trump promises to ban all Muslim immigrants until he is able to guarantee a “perfect screen” to eliminate all potential dangers that any particular immigrant might pose. The head of the FBI has already testified that such a screen is impossible.
The Orlando shooter was born in New York. His ex-wife felt that he was violent and bi-polar. Though she said he was religious, he did not regularly attend services. He at various times bragged that he was affiliated with al Qaeda and Hezbollah. Al Qaeda is a Sunni group. Hezbollah is a Shia group. They are mortal enemies and both oppose ISIS. What they and he do share is a violent hatred for gays. Though we may never know all of the details, a picture is emerging of a confused mentally unstable guy who had frequented gay bars and was mostly interested in killing gay people.
That didn’t stop Trump from blaming the killer’s family who emigrated from Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation in the late ‘70’s. Reagan was conducting a proxy war at the time by funding the mujaheddin including Bin Laden. During those same years, 40% of all Afghanis who applied were admitted to this country because they were fleeing Soviet oppression. To hear Trump tell it, this event would have been prevented if we had had the foresight to deny this particular family’s request for asylum 40 years ago. If we had the opportunity to turn back time, we might also convince Trump’s parents that the world would be a safer place if they stopped at three kids.
To cap it off, in interviews conducted before the speech, Trump suggested that President Obama might have secret motives for what Trump described is Obama’s unwillingness to confront Islamic terrorists. This is continuation of the conspiracy-laden warnings that Trump started in 2008 when he claimed Obama wasn’t born in this country. It also ignores recent news on the ground that the Obama lead ISIS strategy has been working in Syria, Libya, and Iraq. But facts have never been Trump’s strong point.
Whether the Republican Party likes it or not, Trump is determined to make this election a referendum on Trump. In no uncertain terms, he is asking voters to decide whether Latino and Muslim citizens are real Americans.
If Trump wins, he will have his answer and act accordingly.