Washington Post religion writer Michelle Boorstein has been trying to reach members of President Donald Trump’s evangelical council to see if they have anything to say about his latest crude outburst. So far, it has been crickets. I suspect that’s all Boorstein will get.
In case you missed the latest episode of “As the Pottymouth Turns,” it has been widely reported that during a meeting in the Oval Office yesterday on immigration-related issues, Trump demanded to know why we allow people from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries to come to the United States.
“Why are we having all these people from sh*thole countries come here?” Trump said. He added that he would like to see more people come from Norway.
Now, several people were in the room when this happened, including members of the Senate. Others were later briefed about the meeting and told about Trump’s comments. A White House spokesman did not initially deny that Trump had uttered the vulgar term, but now, one day later as he faces a torrent of criticism, Trump has taken to Twitter (of course) to issue something that might be a denial.
“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used,” Trump tweeted.
Forgive me for being skeptical. After all, Trump is known for his tendency to, putting it politely, stretch the truth. And U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has confirmed that Trump did use that offensive language.
Religious Right groups, which would be in full-on, 24/7 attack mode had a Democratic president said things like this, are mum.
Trump’s use of the crude term was bad enough, but what lies beneath it is even more troubling. The president of the United States, a figure who is supposed to lead the free world and set the standard for decorum and professionalism, wondered out loud why we allow so many people from countries with mostly non-white populations to come here. He expressed his preference for allowing more people from Norway – a nation that is overwhelmingly white.
The incident is also further proof that Trump’s Muslim ban, which AU has been fighting in court, has likely been motivated by the inherent biases he holds, not legitimate security concerns. It’s getting hard to conclude anything other than that there are certain people Trump does not like because of the color of their skin or their religion and that he wants to keep them out of the country.
CNN anchor Don Lemon didn’t hold back last night. He began his broadcast with the following words: “This is ‘CNN Tonight.’ I’m Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist. A lot of us already knew that.”
Religious Right groups surely know this too. Do they care? Will even one member of Trump’s evangelical advisory body have the gumption to point out that his words and behavior are vile?
Don’t hold your breath.
This morning, American United member Frank Granger sent me the cartoon that accompanies this post. It sums up how I feel today – once again ashamed and embarrassed for my country.
I’d submit that any morally decent person should feel that way after this latest disgraceful incident. Yet there are those among us who love to claim the moral high ground and assert that they are focused on “values” – and they can’t seem to get to that place of moral clarity.
That is awfully telling.