We were not shocked by the word President Trump is said to have used when he called immigrants from poor countries undesirable.

It was kind of crude, but we’ve heard it before, and we know that other presidents have used bad language in the past. Big deal.

But aside from that word, what the president said was a big, big deal, something that can’t be ignored.

According to reports, Trump balked at an immigration deal that included protections for legal immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador, comparing those countries to latrines and asking “Why are we having all these people from (dung) hole countries come here?”

In other words, people from these countries are like something that climbed out of a pile of human waste.

They don’t deserve to be here, not because of who they are as individuals, what they have done or what they aspire to do, but just because of where they were born.


He calls it tough talk, and his defenders say that Trump is just putting “America First,” like he said he would do when he was running for president.

Maybe. He’s definitely putting something first, but it’s not the America described in the Declaration of Independence (where “all men are created equal’) or the Pledge of Allegiance (“one nation, under God, indivisible”) or on the base of the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”).

This was the white nationalist vision of America that was promoted by Trump and his disgraced adviser Steve Bannon in the campaign.

It is a view of America that was embraced by some large numbers of voters, who cheered Trump’s vision of a fortress America, where dark-skinned immigrants were kept out by a great wall.

Many others, no doubt, voted for Trump despite his rhetoric about race and nationality and not because of it. If so, they need to speak up, because this is not just meaningless talk anymore.

Trump has essentially told the world that we didn’t really mean it when we said that we were a different kind of nation – one built on ideas and not on blood. This is great news to foreign dictators, who want their people to believe that we were lying about equality and freedom.


It’s a crushing blow to people who thought there might be a place for them in the world to escape poverty and oppression.

And this is going to hurt Americans. Maybe not the Trump family and his fellow billionaires, but the people who have been paying for their elders’ Social Security and Medicare every payday may not be so lucky.

When it’s their turn to retire, they may discover that putting “America First” means there aren’t enough people in the workforce to fund the safety net for them.

Trump can use crude language if he wants and he won’t do any real damage. But we may never recover from the damage he causes when he drags our ideals through his dung pile.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.