Despite being presented with damning and irrefutable evidence of abuse of power and obstruction of justice, the Republican Party-controlled United States Senate moved to acquit President Donald Trump on Wednesday on impeachment charges brought before them by the House of Representatives.
His reelection campaign now officially begins, and it has begun the same way he launched his bid for presidency four years ago – in portraying white America locked in a do-or-die struggle with non-white immigrants.
The president announced an expansion of his travel ban to include six additional countries – Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan.
On Friday, January 31, the day it became clear Trump would survive impeachment, the president announced an expansion of his travel ban to include six additional countries – Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan.
The ban will not only block thousands of people from being able to travel or migrate to the United States but will also affect roughly 25 percent of the African continent’s total population. It will add countless more human beings to the 135 million already stymied by the president’s initial ban, which was put in place by executive order in 2017 and targeted mostly Muslim majority countries.
Four years ago, when Trump called for a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the country,” almost half of all voters rewarded him by handing him the keys to the White House.
Four years ago, when Trump called for a “complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the country,” almost half of all voters rewarded him by handing him the keys to the White House. It’s now evidently clear the 45th US president views an expansion of hatred and fear as a path to victory in 2020. After all, this is the same man who launched his political career almost a decade ago by falsely accusing the country’s first black president of being a foreign-born Muslim.
Trump might be unable to locate Kansas City on a map, but what he knows better than anyone else is that his supporters “find community by rejoicing in the suffering of those they hate and fear,” according to Adam Serwer, a journalist for The Atlantic.
In other words, racist cruelty is the point. It’s what mobilizes and agitates his political base the most. His callous remarks earn the biggest applause lines at his rallies. Whether he’s mocking a woman’s appearance, or female victims of sexual assault, or a child with Down’s Syndrome, or a handicapped journalist, or refugees, or teen survivors of a high school shooting, or a 16-year old Swedish girl with Asperger’s, or whatever offensive impulse that emanates from Trump’s mouth, his most stubbornly loyal supporters clap their hands with glee.
When I spoke with Khaled Beydoun, a law professor and author of American Islamophobia: Understanding the Rise and Roots of Fear, he explained how Trump “uses symbols and signals to rile up his base.”
“More than just policy, the new executive order is a political tool that shouts, loudly: ‘Hey voters, this is why you voted me into office in the first place, and I’m giving you what you want again so you can vote me back in. Again,” said Beydoun.
Arjun Sethi, a human rights lawyer and author of American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, scoffs at the idea that Trump’s immigration policies are about national security.
“They are about furthering an agenda rooted in racism, xenophobia and white nationalism.”
“They are about furthering an agenda rooted in racism, xenophobia and white nationalism.” Sethi said. “The expansion of the Muslim Ban is a continuation of the ongoing war against black and brown bodies in the US and abroad. Trump told us who he was a long time ago, it’s time we believed him.”
To put it simply, the new reiteration of Trump’s travel ban amounts to a ban on both Muslims and black immigrants, one that has no grounding in security or economic logic whatsoever. Indeed, not a single US citizen has been killed on US soil by a national from the affected countries in the period spanning 1975 to 2015 and given the country has reaped substantial economic benefits in maintaining close ties with Nigeria.
A recent study found that Nigerian immigrants are the most successful ethnic group in the US, with 29 percent of Nigerian-Americans above the age of 25 holding a graduate degree, compared to 11 percent of the overall US population.
Moreover, 45 percent of Nigerian-American professionals are employed in education services, while many are entering the medical field at an increased rate, “leaving their home country to work in American hospitals, where they can earn more and work in better facilities. A growing number of Nigerian-Americans are becoming entrepreneurs and CEOs, building tech companies in the US to help people back home,” observes Molly Fosco, a journalist with the online magazine Ozy.
Neither these realities, nor the best available evidence-driven data underpins Trump’s immigration policies, or even his policies writ large. What matters to him is the mob, specifically his mob, and the louder they cheer and ask for the unconscionable, the more the most objectively odious president in modern times is willing to sate their most racist and xenophobic attitudes.
- The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Inside Arabia.