If there is one thing that both sides of the political spectrum agree on is that Donald Trump has the knack for making people freak out and lose their s**t. Such was the case with a series of tweets attacking a quartet of Democratic members of Congress for being anti-American, and adding a dash of the “America: love it or leave it” attitude which pre-dates the age of Trump. Of course the Democratic quartet reacted and people accused Trump (who is married to an immigrant) of being anti-immigrant, a racist, the toenail of Satan, &c., because they’re already accusing him of all that simply for breathing. Of course, as well, this could have just been about the histrionics of the Democratic quartet, and others on the far Left of the party, self-destruction, if Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip tweeting didn’t go far beyond that to the point of referring to three of the quartet, who are natural born citizens, as having “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” now “telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, how our government it so be run.”
That he talked about three natural born citizens as if they were immigrants, unsurprisingly led to legitimate criticism of such statements for being factually inaccurate and wrong.
“The only member of the squad who ‘originally came from countries’ beside the U.S. is Ilhan Omar, born in Somalia. Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City, Rashida Tlaib was born in Detroit, and Ayanna Pressley was born in Cincinnati. Three of the four “originally came from” the United States of America, and presumably Trump doesn’t mean that our government is “a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.”
“It is fair to read his remarks as contending that Tlaib should return to the Palestinian territories (her parents immigrated from there), that Ocasio-Cortez should return to Puerto Rico (where her mother was born; Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917), and that Pressley should return to someplace in Africa, even though her mother and father were both U.S. citizens and, to the extent she has discussed her family, her ancestors ‘immigrated’ many generations ago — involuntarily if they were slaves.”
It was also further pointed out that this was also a political “own goal” that protected the Democratic quartet not only from Democratic leadership trying to rein them, but also dampen criticism from the moderates (including suburban Women who swung enough seats in November 2018 to give the House of Representatives to the Democrats.
“Trump manages to focus in on the least-legitimate lines of criticism, that these women supposedly come from some other country and that they are ‘loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.’ They’re all elected members of Congress. Love them or hate them, they all legitimately won House races in heavily Democratic congressional districts. Each one has the same one vote out of 435 that every other member has.
“At the exact moment that Democrats are realizing the toxicity of identity politics, Donald Trump endorses the notion that these women are defined by where they come from.
“Not only did he attack the ‘squad,’ he managed to do it in a way in which no other prominent Democrat can continue to criticize them publicly, lest they be perceived as echoing the president’s contention that they should go back where they came from. At the exact moment the accusations and counter-accusations were set to do lasting damage, Trump just had to jump in and give them an attack that would unify them all. It often seems like Trump would rather have a bad news cycle that focuses on him than a beneficial news cycle that focuses on someone else.
“Trump could have and should have stayed quiet and let the Democratic infighting worsen and intensify. Failing that, it would have been easy to make a jab free of any xenophobia — something like, ‘Interesting to see “Progressive” Democratic congresswomen contending Nancy Pelosi is racist and that the Congressional Black Caucus doesn’t represent black voices. I’m sure Pelosi would be happy to send them on some long foreign trip to get them out of her hair and out of the headlines!’
“Instead, Trump made a comment that unites Democrats of every stripe and reminds them of their primary objective in the 2020 cycle, winning back the White House. The biggest change from the 2014 and 2016 elections and the 2018 midterms is that the suburbs, and in particular, suburban women, recoiled from Trumpism. Trump fans can argue, ‘ignore the tweets, focus on his policies,’ until they’re blue in the face. Significant numbers of voters in key demographics in key states aren’t willing to compartmentalize like that. Everyone around the president can read a poll and knows that his rage-tweeting is a liability; it is perhaps the biggest liability in a presidency that, with prosperity and a perception of peace, ought to be comfortably cruising to reelection.”
Likely due to more reserved and reasoned heads, Trump tweeted out a more measured, yet still harsh, attack on the Democratic quartet, that quoted Sen. Linsay Graham:
“… we don’t need to know anything about them personally, talk about their policies. I think they are American citizens who are duly elected that are running on an agenda that is disgusting, that the American people will reject…”
It is as if each side was going out of it’s way to rile up the other side’s base while using that to drive their own base into a frenzy, both ignoring the moderates, and even many on both the Left and the Right who don’t need to seek emotional catharsis from political rage. We are living, as the following image macro originally posted at RedState indicates, in a political age of Leeroy Jenkins, based off of a meme of a “World of Warcraft character that is known for screaming out his name before ignorantly charging headlong into battle, killing everyone in his party.”
Many of the criticisms focused on the “Leeroy Jenkins” nature of the “Age of Trump”, and didn’t call Trump racist, but just chalked it up to Trump’s “shoot-from-the-hip” tweeting style that is long on red meat for the base but short on political tactics or strategy beyond appealing to his loving supporters.
“Of the ‘Congresswomen’ he could possibly be addressing here (which are undoubtedly Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley), three of them were born in America. They don’t have countries to go back to. One isn’t even a first generation American. She’s just…black.
“Sure, I could parse this out and torture it, asserting that Trump is really only talking about Ilhan Omar despite the entire thing being in the plural tense and the aforementioned four all being in the news for the very thing he’s complaining about. I’m not going to do that though because I’d be lying to myself. This wasn’t thought out or planned. It wasn’t nuanced. It was Trump jumping on Twitter, not thinking about what he was saying, and pushing the publish button on the tweet.
“All Trump had to do was stop and reflect for a moment. He’s got people all around him who could have pointed out ‘hey, this is going to cause a lot of blow back on you and your supporters at the worst possible time.’ Another set of eyes and a simple tweak to the wording could have fixed it, but he refuses to take those precautions.”
Some were more defensive of the President, but still acknowledges the factual error of the original tweets, and instead focuses on the legitimate criticism against many on the Left when it comes to immigration.
Thanks for the kind words. Trump, I suspect, knows that Omar is the only foreign born person in the "Squad." I've come to expect that, when he seems to make a mistake, he's got another agenda. Or maybe he really did just make a mistake — but I still agree with his larger point.
— Bookwormroom (@Bookwormroom) July 16, 2019
“The viewpoint I’ve just described was Overton window on the subject of immigration for centuries: America is an incredible land of opportunity and, thankfully, a generous country. We Americans want to continue as we have done by inviting into our country hard workers and creative people who will be appropriately grateful for the opportunity given to themselves and their children. We recognize that new immigrants will inevitably suffer from homesickness and that they may view some of the things they left behind as more virtuous or better run than America, but we expect that, having freely volunteered to come here, they will treat their new home with love and respect. Moreover, that wasn’t just the American point of view; the immigrants came in with the same attitude.
“Within the last decade or so, the Leftists changed this immigration Overton window. Pretty much ever since Obama hit the White House, Leftists have insulted America and then doubled-down on insulting America, and than increased their insults to America. Even as people from around the world have illegally stormed America’s borders, the Left has told us — and instructed these new immigrants to believe — that America is a stinking pile of poop country, filled with evil plutocrats and redneck racists. To the Left and the new immigrants they indoctrinate, America is a country to be loathed, not to be admired. Moreover, immigrants are told to believe that whether we graciously invited them in or they voluntarily broke in to our country like common criminals.”
The above from blogger Bookworm of Bookworm Room is a well thought out criticism of the Left and their goals and views concerning immigrants and how it is counter to America’s history of assimilation and national unity.
Sadly, others seemed to care less about the potential impact the tweets could make politically, and come election time, and more about bashing any conservative or right-of-center commentator who dares not to blindly defend anything and everything Donald Trump says, all while conveniently ignoring that the factually inaccurate statements of Trump were indeed factually inaccurate.
“But the biggest problem is once again the experts and elitists — whom President Donald John Trump has manhandled for four years — still believe he does not know what he is doing.
“Hinderaker’s analysis is worthy of The Weekly Standard, which is to say it too is defunct.
“What Hinderaker missed was President Donald John Trump’s entire point. Ihlan Omar is toxic because of her ungrateful and anti-American views. He forced Democrats to rally behind her.
“He did not become president by listening to Bill Kristol.”
This assumes that calling three non-White members of Congress, who are natural born citizens, as not being from America and thus not just being Unamerican by their actions, which would have been a harsh but defensible position, but insinuated that they never were American to begin with. They are Unamerican in the same way that a hardcore Antifa member who is eligible for membership in the Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution are Unamerican: Neither more nor less.
Some, even, seem the need to twist the truth to histrionically defend an off-the-cuff tweet. Such as is the case by a guest post at Sarah A. Hoyt’s blog.
“And Ocasio-Cortez is the daughter of a Puerto Rican [Sure, it’s a ‘territory’ so she was technically born American. Have you ever been there? Looked at how people live there? Look at what she IDENTIFIES with? Yeah.] She is, in fact, a second-generation immigrant [Very Latin. Much minority. What she never identifies as is… one of us]. This is a common term. So is Rashida Tlaib. Her parents were ‘Palestinian’ immigrants (I myself like to identify as Prussian and Zairian). She is also a second-generation immigrant. Let’s be real here, people trying to attack Trump on this are really working a technicality for all it’s worth. It is entirely reasonable to refer to all three of them as immigrants. It was a key part of their formative experiences. Every single one was raised by, at minimum, one person who did not come from the US originally. We can probably infer something about what that upbringing emphasized from their actions. In particular, the rather key lack of things we would very much like people coming here to have. If you want to be pedantic then fine, they’re from immigrant families. If the distinction makes you happy, whatever. And hey speaking of which…”
Contrast that with Bookworm’s words above. Bookworm attacks how immigrants are being propagandized to be against America and to oppose rather than assimilate. The guest blogger, Thomas Kendall, seems to agree, not with Bookworm, but with the Democrats who insists that immigrants are and always will be separate and distinct from a more native population. Not only have the ardent wings of the anti-Trump and pro-Trump adopted a “Leeroy Jenkins” style of politicking, but agree on the same manichean and unbridgeable divide between “us” and “them”. Kendall tries to square this circle by saying that the criticisms of the inaccuracy of Trump’s tweet is only technically correct.
Kendall, to support that idea that they are not really American but rather “immigrants”, ignores that Tlaib is indeed a natural born citizen with only one immigrant parent, but goes even further by saying that Ocasio-Cortez has an immigrant mother who came from Puerto Rico, an American possession since the 19th century and whose people have held, as noted above, citizenship for over a hundred years. Worst, though is the conspicuous lack of reference to Ayanna Pressley who is the child of two citizens. While it is easy to point out that the problems he has with the Democratic Quartet involve their Unamerican beliefs precluding them from being considered true Americans, his line of attack is based on the belief that they were never really Americans, even when they were newborns who were citizens of birth and even when they had two citizen parents, makes it easy to infer that his attack might have a racial component since he is guest posting on a blog of a White immigrant. Would he demand that Mrs. Hoyt’s children Unamerican and from non-American “immigrant families” if they were to end up having beliefs that Mr. Kendall sees as Unamerican, and then go on to defend tweets that call for Mrs. Hoyt’s kids to “go back” to Portugal (one of the four “PIGS” of Europe) where they “originally came from”? Kendall is making a jus sanguinis argument that they are not true Americans because their families are immigrant families; this lies in contrast with the American (and English before that) standard of jus soli, whereby being born into the broader American society they are American. Again, they are neither more nor less American than a descendant of the Mayflower who supports socialism is American.
While some may defend such attacks be declaring those, such as your humble author, as defending Ilhan Omar or “open borders”, this is just þe olde argument ad hominem via false equivalency. I have long believed that our immigration policy should be geared towards those individuals who want to become not just citizens of the United States but adopt American values and assimilate into American culture and society, but that our ability to assimilate is at an all time low due to multiculturalism, “diversity” mania, and identity politics; that we should enforce immigration law vigerously; and that jus soli is part and parcel of our American heritage. I also oppose Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Tlaib, and Pressley, because they are hardcore Leftists that want policies that will lead to the destruction of America and dismantle the common customs, mores, and folkways that make America, America; that such opposition ought to apply to them and to others regardless of whether they are themselves immigrants, had an immigrant parent, have citizen parents, or even if they are eligible to be a member of the Order of the First Families of Virginia. But then that isn’t enough for some people, for far too many think that unless you join them in their “Leeroy Jenkins” charge, then you must be joining the other side’s “Leeroy Jenkins” charge.
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