Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, couldn’t resist an inapt Hitler analogy to comment on the Associated Press story of a Department of Homeland Security memo proposing the deployment of 100,000 National Guardsmen to round up illegal aliens in 11 states.
The White House immediately denied knowledge of the memo and also said that DHS Secretary Kelly never saw it.
But that didn’t stop Crowley from shooting off his mouth.
The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus said Friday that reports that the Trump administration had considered deploying tens of thousands of National Guard troops to apprehend undocumented immigrants were “outrageous” and “very reminiscent of what led up to World War II.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the memo was “not a White House document” and that “there is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.”
But Crowley said “seeing these kind of actions . . . even being talked about” was alarming.
“Using the National Guard, the Army, to come into our communities, to police our communities, to disrupt and to gather people up for the purpose of deporting them, is a very, very scary thing,” he said. “It’s not a country that I’m familiar with called the United States. It’s not how we conduct ourselves. We see that happen in other countries that aren’t as free and aren’t as open as we are to welcoming immigrants. We welcome immigrants. We want the best, the brightest and the bravest. . . . And now they’re under fear that armed [men], you know, with M-16 rifles, come to your door and break it down and leave your children who are American citizens there but take you and deport you.”
Pressed on the comparison to the run-up to World War II — a reference that could easily be interpreted as a reference to Nazi Germany — Crowley backed off only slightly: “I think we have to always look at our past and look at the history of the world, to put into context where we are today. I’m not describing and saying this is like Germany per se, or making any comparison to Nazis or anything else.
Oh yes you are, Congressman. And it was deliberate. The rest of your screed about “armed men” with “M-16 rifles” breaking down the door and taking away parents while leaving children to fend for themselves is an outrageous exaggeration if it isn’t an outright lie.
Nevertheless, this is an awful, terrible, horrible idea and serves no good purpose except to give a ton of ammo to the president’s political enemies. There is nothing in the memo about National Guard troops breaking down doors or rounding up aliens. In fact, the memo specifically mentions apprehending illegals at the border and those who have been in the country illegally for less than two years— the same criteria used by President Obama for deportation. Governors are to negotiate with DHS the use of non-federalized National Guardsmen to patrol the border. There is nothing about the National Guard going door to door to round up illegal aliens.
But that won’t stop the Democrats from portraying the memo as something Hitler would have done (Hitler would have used the SS and Gestapo). The only question I have is whether the memo was some low-level DHS flunky spit balling ideas or a trial balloon for an actual policy.
Either explanation is plausible; it could be fake news from the AP or something Secretary Kelly was asked to draw up by President Trump. It speaks volumes in the age of Trump that both scenarios can be considered.