Friday, January 18, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He added a little Islamophobia to his border wall campaign.

Trump's rationale for refusing to sign spending bills without money for his oft-promised border wall changes from time to time. Sometimes he claims that the issue is a humanitarian crisis, and that a wall at the very end of their journey will deter people who have traveled thousands of miles on foot to escape political or criminal violence. 

But for the most part, Trump prefers to accuse refugees from violence and starvation of being criminals themselves. Today, he added an Islamophobic twist to that narrative, claiming that an unnamed "border rancher" had found "prayer rugs," presumably abandoned by the Muslim terrorist infiltrators who Trump wants people to believe are hiding among refugees. 

"Prayer rugs" at the U.S.-Mexico border are an urban legend: much talked about, never actually found. One supposed example turned out to be a soccer jersey. More recent stories of borderland "prayer rugs" may have been inspired by those left behind by radical Islamic terrorists who bombed a Kansas City department store—in the 2018 movie Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Why should I care about this?

  • It's wrong to use one kind of bigotry to justify another.
  • Just in case Trump actually believes this: the president should be able to tell the difference between reality and a movie.