Monday, January 14, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He mocked asylum-seeking immigrants for showing up to their court hearings.

Trump said almost nothing about farming for the first half an hour of his speech to the American Farm Bureau today, focusing instead on the border wall. (Trump was forced this morning to clarify his evasive answer about his allegiances to Russia, and did not revisit it in the speech.) 

Trump's remarks followed the general pattern of characterizing Latino migrants as criminals and terrorists, but also included what for him is a new lie about the habits of people fleeing through Central America and Mexico to seek asylum in the United States:

So we release [migrants seeking asylum]. So they go into our country, and then you announce—these are the laws—and then you say, "Come back in three years for your trial." Tell me, what percentage of people come back? Would you say a hundred percent? No, you're a little off. How about two percent?

In reality, about 90% of asylum seekers are present for their court dates. (The remainder includes people who have died or left the country voluntarily in the meantime.) Trump continued:

And those people you almost don't want, 'cause they cannot be very smart. Two percent, two percent, two percent. Two percent come back! Those two percent are not going to make America great again. 

Trump may be confusing asylum applicants, who deliberately seek out the American legal system, with undocumented workers who are illegally employed by businesses like Trump's golf courses, Trump's modeling agencies, and Trump's real estate companies.

Who cares?

  • It's a pretty bad sign if a president who is under investigation himself thinks that obeying laws is stupid.