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Trump Talk

Susan Estrich on

When I wrote a few weeks ago about Donald Trump predicting a "bloodbath," my readers -- most of them in civil and respectful tones -- were quick to correct me. It was only the auto industry he was referring to, they said. They tried to defend him. They needn't have bothered. Trump has, since that time, adopted the idea of a "bloodbath" as a watchword of his campaign. President Joe Biden, according to him, is responsible for a "bloodbath" at the border -- of dark-skinned migrants who are, to hear him talk, ravaging this country, not only "poisoning our blood" but also breaking the law and bringing disorder to our cities.

"They're not humans. They're not humans. They're animals," Trump said at a rally last week. "I'll use the word 'animal' because that's what they are."

Embryos are people. Humans are not. This is how he talks.

This is what he says. They are "coming into our country with contagious diseases. ... illegal alien criminals crawling through your windows and ransacking your drawers ... obliterate(ing) Medicare and Social Security" and filling schools with "new migrant students who don't speak a word of English."

"Crooked Joe and his migrant armies of dangerous criminals" are producing a "bloodbath." "They're coming from places that you don't want them to come from. They're coming from the Congo, Yemen, Somalia, Syria." And what color are people from there?

"They're country-changing, country-threatening and they're country-wrecking. They're destroying our country."

You wouldn't know, listening to Trump, that murder and violent crime have decreased for two straight years, after rising during the pandemic when Trump was president, and are lower now than they were during Trump's final year in office. You wouldn't know, listening to Trump, that the evidence shows that immigrants commit fewer violent crimes than non-migrants. Facts be damned. Hateful rhetoric is what Trump traffics in.

And he gets away with it.

We are so accustomed to Trump saying what no civilized person would say that we hardly pay attention. His crowd cheers. Those who know better simply sigh. Or try to find an excuse for what he spews.

 

It's Trump, we say, selling his sneakers, selling his Bibles, selling shares of his phony stock. He is hawking hate, and who is telling him to shut up?

Is it simply Trump fatigue that allows him to violate every rule of civil discourse while Biden operates under a microscope? Have we been shocked so many times that a different set of rules applies when judging Trump?

These are all quotes from the last week. If anyone else talked the way he does, they'd be booted off the team, kicked out of the corner office, shamed off the board.

"Fellow immigrants," Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he stood up to greet the Daughters of the American Revolution. Is this how Trump would have greeted his own in-laws, who immigrated to America under an exception he has opposed? Is this how we would address our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, who came to this country fleeing oppression and poverty? No, we can't accept all comers, we need to abide by the rule of law at the border, but those are people, families, fathers and mothers and children. Animals deserve to be spoken of better.

Donald Trump is one of two men who will likely win this election and, with that, become the most powerful man in the world. Every word out of his mouth deserves to be paid attention to and judged. This is not civil discourse. It is hate speech. The headlines should scream. We are better than this. Trump is not.

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To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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