Appearing on Univision’s Al Punto over the weekend, President Obama and his host, Enrique Acevedo, discussed immigration “reform” and the Trayvon Martin shooting. Regarding immigration reform, Obama blamed the Republicans for his failure to address the issue, despite the fact that for the first two years of his term, his Democratic Party controlled both houses of Congress with supermajorities and could have taken the issue up at any time. Obama declares that immigration reform is “personal” to him, but not enough evidently to have taken it up when he could have gotten it through Congress. Host Acevedo never challenged Obama on this point.
The interview takes its strangest turn, though, when Acevedo brings up Trayvon Martin, and the president turns that question into a discussion of “anti-immigrant sentiment.”
Acevedo: Finally, Mr. President, why is it that half a century after the Civil Rights Movement and after the American people elected their first African American President do I have to stand today here in front of you and ask you about racial tensions in the U.S.? And of course, I’m referring to the Trayvon Martin case.
There is no evidence that Martin was killed for racial reasons. There is no evidence that the civil rights movement had anything to do with the events of that night. We still do not know what happened in the vital minute leading up to Martin’s death. The president could have noted that and moved on. But he chose not to. Again, he politicized the case.
Obama: Well, I think we all understand that issues of race are deeply embedded in the history of this country. Sometimes that history has been tragic, slavery, Jim Crow, but also more recent examples of anti-immigrant sentiment, and you know, I think what I always tell people is that, you know, my election alone is not going to completely transform attitudes because this has to do with hearts and not just minds. It has to do with attitudes, not just laws.
“It” might also have to do with facts: Neither Trayvon Martin nor George Zimmerman are immigrants. Zimmerman’s mother is, though, so to the extent that immigration factors into this case at all (which is near zero), it would be on Zimmerman’s side, not Martin’s. Zimmerman, whose name is never mentioned and his picture never shown in the Univision interview, is Hispanic and a Spanish speaker. But neither the host, Enrique Acevedo, nor the president ever mention any of this. It’s as if the hard facts of the case are less relevant than whatever narrative the host and president are hoping to build together for Univision’s audience.
The president continues:
On the other hand, I think we have to take heart from the fact that things have changed profoundly since I was born, and you know, when you see the next generation, when I talk to Malia and Sasha and their friends, their attitudes are more enlightened than the attitudes of my generation. So with each successive generation there are going to be misunderstandings; there are going to be tensions; there’s going to be tragedy sometimes, and what’s important for us to do is to look at it honestly, look at it squarely, but then move forward…
Look at it honestly. Look at it squarely. The president should take his own advice. But to do so would rob him of a very convenient corpse.
h/t Big Government