If there is something we as Right aisle-sitters learned from the 2016 presidential campaign, it’s that anything goes when it comes to Donald J. Trump.
No faux pas is too great, no gaffe is too noticeable, and no remark is too rude.
Not much has changed since he was merely a candidate in that vast Republican field filled with eventual losers like Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie. During debates and in between stops the future president would “tell it like it is” to reporters and regular folks alike. Sure, that honesty was acerbic, but it was invigorating to a tired GOP electorate that had suffered under Barack Obama for eight years. This very exhaustion pushed them to choose the cringeworthy outsider whose controversial, but successful, campaign forever silenced the presidential aspirations of Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It was all worth it, right? Well, the debate rages on.
We (the current or semi-retired NeverTrumpers) are glad that Hillary Clinton was not the victor. However, it’s difficult to breathe a sigh of relief while wincing at daily missteps by the 45th president. Yes, it is possible to be frustrated with an outcome that brought a Clinton down but also left us with a reality star president whose damaging impact on conservatism has yet to be fully realized.
Which brings us to that sh*thole comment and the corresponding news cycle.
As you’re well aware, President Trump is charged with describing African and Central American nations as “shithole countries” while discussing immigration during a January 11th meeting with lawmakers. Though he denies it, it’s hardly shocking that he most likely uttered such a phrase.
Imagine making this bargain and sleeping at night: Defend pussy-grabbing, period and facelift insults, some “fine” neo-nazis, an accused child molester, fake conspiracy theories, and calling black/brown countries shitholes…for TV air time.
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) January 12, 2018
Let’s not act as if his use of that terminology is out of the realm of possibility. President Trump’s past and present behavior lends enough credence to these claims.
So, does it matter?
No, it really does not matter that he used the word sh*t. We’re all adults. Such language hardly spurs pearl-clutching. Are you really shocked that a politician speaks that way in private? Don’t be. No, it really does not matter that he labeled those countries as horrible places. After all, there are many nations that are run by ruthless and corrupt governments. International reputations are rightly sullied by their leaders. These nations are filled with warlords, criminals, and cartels.
The structure of the comment and its characterization of nations as a whole isn’t the issue.
The real issue is that by using this phrase, the president of the United States is implying that we don’t want people from bad nations because they are automatically…bad people. And that implication does matter. It matters greatly because it’s nothing short of bigotry and racism.
It’s elitism dressed up as very serious concern about national security. It’s laziness. It’s generalization. In other words, it’s the kind of thing that President Trump excels at when he opens his mouth: shock, awe, and little substance. It’s saying that someone from a country with problems could not become a true, patriotic American who contributes to and loves our own flawed nation. It’s saying that the best course of action – for a nation of immigrants – is to pick and choose people based on country of origin, not individuality.
Sorry, but that’s not America.
Naturally, the Trump Fan Club finds nothing wrong with his statements because, well, “there really are sh*tty countries, Kim!” Their rationalizations continue to meet my expectations for them.
So, we shall go forth from this news cycle (eventually) into another news cycle that contains just as much absurdity. This comment will be bookmarked and referenced often because it says much about the character of the man who leads our country. And that character is, and has been, concerning.
Truly, we should demand better from our president. No, this statement isn’t world-ending, but it is problematic. Such a thing should be readily admitted by those who are more closely aligned with the commander-in-chief.
But nevermind all that. Didn’t you hear? They’re saying that sh*thole comment doesn’t really matter.
Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.