Rencently at a White House meeting with local California leaders opposed to “sanctuary city” policies, Donald Trump made one of his most offensive comments yet. In front of countless sheriffs, cameras, and members of the press, he said that immigrants “are not people, they’re animals.”1 Thats right–the President of the United States referred to millions of human beings as animals.
This isn’t the first time Trump has glibly insulted marginalized communities. From calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” to African nations “sh*tholes”, Trump has rarely missed an opportunity to categorize Black and Brown people as less than human.2 To make matters worse, Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio—who have famously supported DACA and claim to care deeply about immigrants have remained mum on Trump’s latest attack.3
Rubio and Graham have had plenty of time to take to Twitter today to insult other world leaders—but have refused to denounce Trump’s dehumanizing attack on immigrants. This deafening silence as millions of people are insulted by the Commander-In-Chief is yet another indicator of how Trump’s disgusting rhetoric has become normalized on the public stage. After all, both Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio were vehement anti-Trumpers; first claiming he was unfit to be President, then falling into line after he was elected—bragging about playing golf with him and proudly endorsing his damaging policies.4
If Graham and Rubio remain silent and refuse to reject the characterization of immigrants as “animals”, they are complicit in upholding a hostile political climate. Their silence enables violence that we see being enacted now on a policy level. Since Trump’s election, the immigration gains activists made in previous administrations have been massively rolled back with several attempts at a Muslim ban, the expansion of ICE agents’ abilities to detain and deport any undocumented immigrant, and the appointment white nationalists to ICE.5 Just this week, Trump’s administration just announced that they’re gearing up to tear immigrant children away from their parents and hold them alone on military bases.6
We know that Trump’s public attacks on marginalized communities have disturbing real-life consequences. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported the second straight year of hate crime increases—largely due in part to “The Trump Effect: with a tripling of anti-Muslim hate groups since 2016 and surges of hate crimes nationwide.7
Now more than ever, leaders must take a stand against the status quo and defend the most vulnerable among us.
Until justice is real,
–Jade, Brandi, Rashad, Arisha, Evan, Johnny, Future, Angela, Corina, Chad, Mary, Saréya, Eesha, and the rest of the Color Of Change team
- Trump calls some unauthorized immigrants “Animals” in Rant. 17 May 2018. New York Times. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/50361?t=11&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc
- Trump doesn’t need to explain which immigrants he thinks are “animals”. 17 May 2018. Slate. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/53137?t=13&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc
- More than 30 senators join push for immigration deal. 24 January 2018. The Hill. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/53138?t=15&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc
- Lindsey Graham offers details on Trump’s round of 73. 11 October 2017. Golf Channel. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/52224?t=17&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc did Marco Rubio say in Spanish in front of Trump? Let him tell you. Miami Herald. 16 May 2018. http://act.colorofchange.org/go/52243?t=19&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc Trump should lead, Congress should act on DACA. 5 September 2017. Politico. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/52226?t=21&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc Immigration debate “has turned into an s-show”. 16 January 2018. Politico. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/50682?t=23&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc
- Trump doesn’t need to explain which immigrants he thinks are “animals”. 17 May 2018. Slate. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/53137?t=25&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc
- Trump administration preparing to hold immigrant children on military bases. 15 May 2018. Washington Post. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/52221?t=27&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc
- Hate crimes rise for second straight year; Anti-Muslim violence soars amid President Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric. 13 November 2017. Southern Poverty Law Center. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/53139?t=29&akid=13201%2E1174326%2EBCDhnc