Trump critics aren't deranged, they're justifiably enraged

Trump critics aren't deranged, they're justifiably enraged
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Every time President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE says or does something that begs the question, “Is the president a racist?,” we hear complaints and talking points about his critics suffering from "Trump Derangement Syndrome."

This comeback is meant to belittle his critics and trivialize their criticism of Trump, no matter how on the mark, valid or real it is.

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I bring this up in the wake of Trump’s immigration policy debacle of forcibly separating children from their families because I believe this policy was much more than just a deterrent, as Attorney Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHillicon Valley: Trump cyber strategy lets US go on offense | AT&T urges court to let Time Warner merger stand | Conservatives want wife of DOJ official to testify | Facebook, nonprofits team up to fight fake news | DC camera hacker pleads guilty Vote Democrat in midterms to rein in Trump, preserve justice Sessions limits ability of judges to dismiss deportation cases MORE has said it was meant to be.

 

Why do we need such a deterrent? Trump would say because we currently have open borders and we are being overrun by illegal immigrants. Both of these things are categorically false.

The policy goal is much broader than just a deterrent — and much more insidious. This policy, as have many others before it, stems from a distinct strain exhibited by President Trump and many in his administration that goes beyond despicable rhetoric.

It seeks to implement policies that are, by their nature, discriminatory against people of color, of foreign origin, of low economic status and who do not speak English.  

I do not suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome. I simply connect the dots, as many Americans have done both before Trump became president as well as afterward, as he continued to offer proof of his prejudice leanings and clear evidence that part of his slogan “Make America Great Again” means “Make America White Again.”

Let’s start with the most obvious example: the fact that Trump was the father of the campaign against President Obama that sought to prove Obama was born in Kenya. As he birthed “birthirism,” he began to show everyone his true colors with his incessant attacks against the first African-American president. But his base loved it.

He then attempted new lines of attack against other people of color, mainly the Muslim community in the United States and immigrants. He first came up with the infamous "Muslim Ban" that he talked about widely during his campaign and then tried to implement the first week of his administration via the travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries.

While sensible judges across the country agreed the Muslin travel ban was discriminatory and harmful to many Americans, the case made its way up to the Supreme Court after other, more toned-down versions were presented and ultimately upheld by a party-line vote in the Supreme Court.

During the height of his campaign, Trump trotted out the wildly popular (with his base) campaign promise of building a wall and having Mexico pay for it. His supporters ate it up.

Trump also started conflating all undocumented immigrants with criminal MS-13 gang members, seemingly in an effort to paint with as broad a brush as possible so that, in voters’ minds, any undocumented person deserves to be treated like a criminal.

Let’s also not forget that during his campaign, Trump promised to get rid of protections for DREAMers. He sought to do just that by ending those protections and saying Congress had to come up with a fix.

Luckily, a court has temporarily blocked the administration from stripping those protections from DREAMers, but until Congress acts permanently, these young Americans will be vulnerable to deportation to a country they do not know and who’s language they may not even speak.

Then, while in office, in the thick of Trump’s immigration policy battles, he pushed to minimize legal migration to the country and to restrict the category of those who come here to only those who can sustain themselves economically, have been educated and can speak English.

Trump also pardoned former sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt for ignoring court orders to stop racial profiling practices.

It is very easy to label Trump a racist simply by his vile rhetoric:

  • He accused an American judge of not being able to do his job because of the heritage of his Mexican-born parents;
  • he sided with white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., saying, “There are good people on both sides.";
  • he said people from Central America, Haiti and Africa come from “shithole countries” and asked why we would want them here instead of more people from Norway.

But it is his policies that underscore and seek to regularize and legislate his bigotry and discrimination.

The current crisis at the border caused by Trump’s policy of forced family separations is a mix of incompetence, immorality, carelessness, cluelessness and callousness. But sadly, it also stems from the same racist strain. If these families were white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed and spoke English, I guarantee you this never would have happened.

At the rate we're going, we'll have to change the motto on the Statue of Liberty to “Welcome to Trump’s America! But only if you are white, educated, rich and speak English!”

This is certainly not Trump Derangement Syndrome. These are the cold, hard, cruel facts. What Trump is doing is not what America represents and is not what most Americans stand for. We deserve better.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.