Donald Trump is not known for his ability to keep his mouth shut. From the beginning of his campaign and his comments about Mexican immigrants to his recent implication that someone could, just maybe, assassinate Hillary Clinton, he has proven more a detriment to his own image than anything or anyone else.
This was certainly the case Thursday. Trump gave a speech that quoted The Washington Times, saying the Somali immigrant community in Minnesota has high unemployment and gave the state “tremendous problems.”
More importantly, he said that the Somali community represents “a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamist terror groups.”
The reference he seems to have meant to make was to the convictions of nine Somali-Americans who intended to leave the States and fight for ISIS. At first glance, it seems that he has a point. After all, it’s been proven that some Somalis are prone to recruitment. The numbers disagree with that conclusion, however.
Only 9 out of approximately 70,000 Somali immigrants have been recruited. The Somalis are not a ticking time bomb for Minnesota. What Trump fails to understand is that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than natives. This holds true no matter what region of the world they came from.
This flies in the face of Trump’s whole M.O. for this election cycle.
Trump would like you to believe that anyone but a pure-blooded native is dangerous. The only exception, of course, is European immigrants. His agenda is “America First” — which sounds great. It sounds very in line with the Libertarian agenda, too — why get involved with other countries if we don’t have to?
Because we need free trade. It’s the cornerstone of an open, free market economy for the world. Trump would get rid of that. And it’s all because of his xenophobia.
Xenophobia is a word bandied about way too often these days, so let me explain: Trump isn’t “America First” because he thinks it will stimulate the economy. He might genuinely think protectionism will help — it won’t, but he may believe so. However, that’s not the reason why he supports “America First” ideas. He supports “America First” philosophies because he takes the concept of America as the greatest country in the world (it is) and makes it the lens through which he views all other nations. He doesn’t see people as people; he sees them as groups.
That’s why he’s so often accused of racism. The question of if Trump is racist has been beaten into the dirt so hard that I won’t bother with it, but he certainly views people not as individuals but as a member of a larger group. He has claimed not to care about race and he may well be telling the truth. His practices at the Mar-a-Lago estate certainly seem to indicate he is not racist in practice. So there must be something else. That underlying view is xenophobia: a revulsion to, or even fear of, the “other.”
Trump is xenophobic. He is probably not racist. That’s why he most often makes reference to other nationalities, not races, when making generalizations. He uses the natural xenophobia of the common person to gain support for unrealistic, if good-sounding, ideas. The wall and his protectionism are the case in point, but the more sinister side of this is the propensity toward negative comments about immigrants.
Somali immigrants are not dangerous, and most people know it. In fact, the outrage against those comments was only overshadowed because of his comments on Second Amendment supporters taking care of Clinton. It was no accident. Trump is a brilliant politician — I’ve said that for months. He said what he said about Clinton to divert attention away from the racism jab that chases him. If he seems to be merely supportive of the Second Amendment and gets hit for it, that solidifies his base.
I see what you’re doing, Donald, and I don’t like it.
This article originally appeared in The Libertarian Republic.