Image Source: Getty / Ralph Freso
Any hope that Donald Trump was shifting toward a less hateful rhetoric died with the speech he gave on Wednesday night.
After his contentious meeting with Mexico's Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico City, the GOP nominee hosted an event in Arizona to outline his immigration proposals. Appearing angry and shouting often, he offered the 10 steps he'd take if he were president. The big picture? He'd start by building a "beautiful" tall wall, deporting undocumented immigrants immediately, tripling the number of immigration and customs agents, and making sure no one who entered the country illegally would be able to obtain legal status or become a citizen of the US.
We also heard one of his most extreme proposals yet when he said all undocumented immigrants who were arrested for (not convicted of) any crime would get deported. Throughout the hour-plus speech, Trump deployed racist tactics, painting immigrants as job-stealing, uneducated criminals.
Tonight is Donald Trump, an often angry and impassioned candidate, at his most angry and impassioned. Speaking directly to his base.— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) September 1, 2016
If you were wondering if Trump was a) going to be less hateful and racist and b) going to focus on policy. The answers are no.— Jonathan Allen (@jonallendc) September 1, 2016
Here are some of the most nonsensical parts:
- Recalling people who have been killed by undocumented immigrants, Trump said countless Americans would be alive today if not for Obama's "open border" policies, when in fact, Obama has deported more people than any other president.
- He said, "These illegal immigrants draw much more out of the system than they can ever pay back," despite the fact that research shows immigrants (including undocumented immigrants) can dramatically improve the country's economic growth.
- He said, "Mexico will pay for the wall — 100 percent. They don't know it yet, but they're gonna pay for it," despite the fact that Mexican President Peña Nieto said he told Trump the very same day as his speech that Mexico would not pay for the wall.
- He said he would push Congress to pass Kate's Law, which immediately places a five-year prison term on immigrants who return to the US after being deported. In fact, many states prefer to release immigrants from prison early not just because of the high cost to house them, but because it aggravates the problem of overpopulation in prisons.
- Trump said he will use "an ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people" in order to keep out terrorists despite the fact that experts say it will never work; they believe people will learn what to say to pass such a test and there are more effective ways of screening immigrants.
Trump's speech was of a much different tone than the one he gave hours earlier in Mexico, where he called Mexicans amazing, spectacular, hard-working people.
Trump tells his current audience whatever they want to hear. He's contrite and servile in Mexico, full of swagger in Phoenix.— Jon Gabriel (@exjon) September 1, 2016
Today, Trump's super ego went to Mexico, and Trump's id went to Phoenix.— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) September 1, 2016
Trump strategy:— Dave Pell (@davepell) September 1, 2016
Talk tough in the locker room. Play like a wimp on the field.
Well that positive, diplomatic message in Mexico has morphed into regular old Trump fear tactics in Arizona.— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) September 1, 2016
I guess "softening" includes the same sowing of fears about immigrants as killers and job stealers.— Jeremy W. Peters (@jwpetersNYT) September 1, 2016
Not only did Trump's plan sound fiscally unreasonable given the cost of a big wall and three times more ICE officers, but it was also filled with racist undertones. Here's how Twitter responded:
Imagine you risked everything because you believe in the idea of America. Then you get here and a candidate does this.— Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) September 1, 2016
He says we'll be proud of our country again. I'm deeply ashamed right now, that's for sure.— digby (@digby56) September 1, 2016
Trump is a fascist, full stop— Demeralda (@demeralda) September 1, 2016
This is unlike any speech I've ever heard from a would-be American president. We are in new territory. https://t.co/Uz4fjZve2i— Joy-Ann Pro-Democracy & Masks Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) September 1, 2016
Not joking: I am absolutely TERRIFIED by what I'm seeing from @realDonaldTrump right now. TERRIFIED. Holy shit...— Ed Sweeney 🇮🇸 (@KnobbyBurton) September 1, 2016
this is an insane and unhinged speech, even for Trump— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) September 1, 2016
I'm really sorry for anyone watching this monster and afraid for your family. We're better than this.— Jenna Lowenstein (@just_jenna) September 1, 2016