On Friday morning, Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a state of emergency to construct the border wall, saying the wall is a platform for racist hatred.
“They’re using it as a platform for hate,” Brzezinski said. She argued that Republicans could have funded the wall’s construction during the past two years, but they didn’t — because the wall is a campaign issue to rile up the Republican base using racism.
“The wall they could have had. The wall those Republicans could have voted into legislation and could have today. They just wanted the issue to spew hateful rhetoric, racist rhetoric,” Brzezinski said.
She was agreeing with Scarborough, who said the wall is “about brown people” and “black people.”
“Republicans had control for two years and they did nothing on the wall. It’s almost like they didn’t want the wall — they just want the issue of the wall,” Scarborough said. “They’re talking about an emergency at a time when illegal border crossings are at a 50-year low. They’re talking about drugs when over 90 percent of the drugs that kill Americans come through legal ports of entry. They’re talking about immigrants committing crimes when every statistic shows that native-born Americans commit far more crimes than do immigrants.”
“So you sit there going, ‘What is this about?'” the Morning Joe host added. “It’s about brown people. It’s about black people. It’s about the “others,” which Donald Trump’s campaign’s always been about.”
Scarborough argued that Trump’s campaign has always been about racism more than border security. “‘Those who are not white, they’re coming to take the country over!’ is what Donald Trump is telling those people in El Paso, and he’s telling those people in Mobile, Alabama, he’s telling those people in Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, he’s telling those people in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that’s his message,” he argued.
“So it’s not about a wall. It’s not about an emergency. It’s about him being white and playing on racist fears, and it always has been,” Scarborough concluded.
The Morning Joe hosts are far off the mark on this. In his State of the Union speech last week, President Donald Trump said he welcomes as many immigrants as possible — so long as they come in legally.
Illegal border crossings may be down, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a problem. Native-born Americans commit more crimes because there are more of them, but that does not mean illegal immigrants do not commit crimes. Tell that to Kate Steinle.
Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency is questionable, but Democrats’ refusal to give him the money for the wall is ridiculous. Democrats have voted for such funding in the past.
Most importantly, however, when Republicans in the House tried to defund Obamacare in 2013 and when Republicans in the Senate tried to defund it in 2015, they were excoriated for trying to shut down the government. President Obama deserved funding for his project, even though the American people had elected Republicans on an anti-Obamacare platform. Now the situation is reversed, and the Republican president is blamed when the Democratic Congress won’t fund his project.
As for the race issue, it seems odd to focus on race when the issue is legal immigration. Trump has been clear he supports legal immigration. This suggestion of racism echoes Democrat talking points on the travel ban. That policy was blasted as a “Muslim ban,” even though the countries involved were not all Muslim and most Muslim countries were not involved.
Trump is serious about his wall, and it’s not just a “platform for hate.” The president is willing to take the flak for calling a national emergency just to get the wall funded. If he really wanted to make it a campaign issue, he wouldn’t do this. So why didn’t the wall get funded earlier? Trump pointed to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, saying Ryan promised him Congress would fund the wall but failed to keep his promise.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.