What a week the past week in politics has been, and the big issue was (and is) illegal immigration.
What’s fascinating to me is not just that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has been so outspoken on the issue, but that a few of the current candidate field have been vehemently against the Donald — to the point of grossly mischaracterizing what he actually said.
Furthermore, I was able to dig up exactly why this has become an issue (and it has everything to do with the Democrats, who I believe have made both a tactical and strategic error — I’ll explain shortly) at this point in the process.
First, I’ll begin with a statement from Mr. Trump himself that includes the alleged controversial comments, via BusinessInsider.com:
Statement from Donald J. Trump:
I don’t see how there is any room for misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the statement I made on June 16th during my Presidential announcement speech. Here is what I said, and yet this statement is deliberately distorted by the media:
“When Mexico (meaning the Mexican Government) sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you (pointing to the audience). They’re not sending you (pointing again). They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringingbringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people! But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”
What can be simpler or more accurately stated? The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc. This was evident just this week when, as an example, a young woman in San Francisco was viciously killed by a 5 time deported Mexican with a long criminal record, who was forced back into the United States because they didn’t want him in Mexico. This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States. In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The largest suppliers of heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs are Mexican cartels that arrange to have Mexican immigrants trying to cross the borders and smuggle in the drugs. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world. On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard working Mexicans—many of them are working for and with me…and, just like our country, my organization is better for it.
The Mexican Government wants an open border as long as it’s a ONE WAY open border into the United States. Not only are they killing us at the border, but they are killing us on trade … and the country of Mexico is making billions of dollars in doing so.
I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their peoples’ great spirit. The problem is, however, that their leaders are far smarter, more cunning, and better negotiators than ours. To the citizens of the United States, who I will represent far better than anyone else as President, the Mexican government is not our friend…and why should they be when the relationship is totally one sided in their favor on both illegal immigration and trade. I have pointed this out during my speeches and it is something Mexico doesn’t want me to say. In actuality, it was only after my significant rise in the polls that Univision, previously my friend, went ballistic. I believe that my examples of bad trade deals for the United States was of even more concern to the Mexican government than my talk of border security. …
Out of the gate, a former GOP candidate, Mitt Romney, thought that Trump made a “severe error” with the above verbiage (though, as TRS points out, we don’t know if this means Romney’s saying Trump’s correct or not, or rather invoking bad strategy):
Then, a current GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush was reportedly “personally offended” by the comments:
“I don’t think he represents the Republican Party, and his views are way out of the mainstream of what Republicans think,” Bush said Saturday afternoon in New Hampshire. “No one suggests that we shouldn’t control our borders – everybody has a belief that we should control our borders. But to make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party. Trump is wrong on this.”
Trump responded accordingly:
I am very proud to be fighting for a strong and secure border. This is a very important issue, which all the other candidates would have ignored had I not started this important discussion. I will fix the border — no one else knows where to begin.
Today, Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people. Just like the simple question asked of Jeb on Iraq, where it took him five days and multiple answers to get it right, he doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come “out of love.”
As everybody knows, I never said that all Mexicans crossing the border are rapists. Jeb is mischaracterizing my statements only to inflame. As seen with the tragic and unnecessary death of Kathryn Steinle this past week in San Francisco at the hands of an illegal immigrant who was previously deported five times, our unsecured border is a national security threat.
Jeb will never be able to secure our border, negotiate good trade deals, strengthen our military or care for our veterans. The biggest difference between Jeb and me on the border is that I believe in securing our border by building a wall, which will protect our safety, economy and national security. This is a vital step in Making America Great Again!
Mr. Bush needs to understand that Mr. Trump is used to being bullied in that he knows how to work the proverbial sharks in a corporate boardroom. Further, the Donald knows how to debate and how to win debates. He basically mopped the floor with Jeb with the above statement.
Next, another candidate, Marco Rubio, took a swing:
Trump’s comments are not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive. Our next president needs to be someone who brings Americans together – not someone who continues to divide. Our broken immigration system is something that needs to be solved, and comments like this move us further from – not closer to – a solution. We need leaders who offer serious solutions to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system.
On the other side of the argument, candidate Ted Cruz “saluted” the Donald:
Trump responded to the above on Fox and Friends:
And then there was candidate Rick Perry who, beginning at the 2:00 mark, was similarly “personally offended” by the comments:
In final response, newly-minted presidential candidate Chris Christie at least had the temerity to simply agree to disagree with Mr. Trump:
To continue the original statement from the top of this posting, here’s the first point of why this was made such a big deal:
Interestingly, Univision has just announced they are attempting to go public despite very poor and even negative earnings, which is not a good situation for a successful IPO or high stock price—not to mention that I am currently suing them for breach of contract. Remember, Univision is the one who began this charade in the first place, and they are owned by one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest backers. After the speech was made, there were numerous compliments and indeed, many rave “reviews”—there was very little criticism. It wasn’t until a week after my announcement that people started to totally distort these very easy to understand words. If there was something stated incorrectly, it would have been brought up immediately and with great enthusiasm.
The issues I have addressed, and continue to address, are vital steps to Make America Great Again! Additionally, I would be the best jobs President that God ever created. Let’s get to work! [emphasis mine]
Therefore, first, we have politically connected media outlets attempting to make a proverbial mountain out of a molehill. This could maybe be expected, as the media often attempts to rhetorically torpedo many a candidate before they gain any sort of traction with the American people.
Unfortunately, secondly, two or three of the candidates took the rhetorical bait, claiming to be personally offended by these statements. Now, in the videos posted above, it’s quite clear that they are not reacting to the actual verbiage, but to a fantasy version of Mr. Trump’s statement, presuming to say that the Donald literally was speaking about all Mexicans being bad people, when in fact this is not what was originally said.
I posit that Jeb Bush and Rick Perry — maybe also Marco Rubio — can no longer be trusted as candidates because either (1) they did not actually fact check what Mr. Trump said (assuming what was not actually said was said); (2) their handlers misinformed them (either intentionally or not); and/or a combination of these. If a candidate cannot be trusted to handle the actual facts of what an opponent says about one issue, how can they be further trusted with additional facts?
In this instance, the only way to know whether this was all intentional or not is to flash the transcript in front of the candidate “personally offended” and then see their reaction when confronted with the actual facts.
Regarding the tactical and strategic errors of the Democrats, since this affair appears to be a plant by associates of the opposing party, the premise was that Donald Trump would play up his bombastic personality, overdo what was claimed to be said (but was not true) against him, and subsequently split the GOP voters.
Instead, what has happened is that Mr. Trump is not backing down and is, in fact, not giving up in the least with what he’s said, his polling so far is actually great, and a sampling of post comments on various news stories shows that he’s actually gaining traction with the American people.
Further, it isn’t the GOP voters that are being split over this issue; it’s the candidates themselves. Also, since the upcoming Fox News and CNN debates will determine actual candidates based on polling, if this type of news story continues, then Mr. Trump will definitely be involved, making other candidates’ lives even harder if they continue to stand against such misinformation.
I don’t yet have a proverbial dog in this hunt, but I can definitely say that Jeb Bush and Rick Perry are definitely out of the running for me, and maybe also Marco Rubio.