Trump: Doubling down on immigration
So much for the “pivot,” said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. After Donald Trump’s visit to Mexico last week, where he did “his best to sound sober and statesmanlike” in a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto, it looked as though Trump’s promised “softening” on immigration had finally arrived. Later that day, however, the old Trump resurfaced with a vengeance in Phoenix. At a raucous rally for supporters, the GOP nominee reiterated his pledge that our southern border will be secured by an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful” wall, while also promising to hire 5,000 new border patrol agents and create a “special deportation task force.” On “day one” of his presidency, Trump shouted, his administration will start deporting illegal immigrants who have committed crimes in this country—a number Trump wildly inflated to 2 million. Once these “criminal aliens” are gone, as well as an estimated 4.5 million who have outstayed their visas, Trump will apparently turn his attention to the remaining 6 million illegal immigrants, who may or may not be given a path to legalization.
Trump’s Phoenix speech sounded “threatening,” said Rich Lowry in Politico.com, but “beneath the bombast” this was actually one of the more substantive and sensible speeches on immigration we’ve ever heard from a presidential nominee. Prioritizing border security and the deportation of criminal aliens makes a lot of sense, as does Trump’s insistence that U.S. immigration policy serve the interests of America and its workers, not the welfare of foreigners. Trump’s earlier promises to deport all 11.5 million illegal immigrants were never more than fantasy, said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post. Out of political necessity, he has found his way to “the only immigration solution” that makes any sense: Secure the borders first, aggressively enforce current immigration law to get rid of the bad guys, and only then offer legalization to those who meet our terms.
You’re trying to make Trump sound reasonable, said Timothy Egan in NYTimes.com. His speech was actually one of “the darkest visions of the American experience that any major-party nominee has ever given.” Trump not only denigrated and threatened the “lawn cutters, Sheetrock hangers, fruit pickers, or nannies we see in every community,” he called for cutting back on legal immigration, admitting only those who meet his standards for “merit, skill, and proficiency.” That would have ruled out most of the Irish, Italian, Scandinavian, and Jewish immigrants who came to the U.S. over the past 150 years out of desperation and hope for a better life. During his trip to Mexico, Trump proved he’s “a coward,” said Peter Beinart in TheAtlantic.com. What kind of straighttalking tough guy calls Mexicans “terrific” and showers them with compliments when he’s within their borders, then breaks out the harsh rhetoric the minute he’s safely back in the U.S.?
That’s the behavior of a candidate with “a fatal flaw,” said John Fund in NationalReview.com. When Trump first announced he was “softening” his harsh immigration stance and flew to Mexico to meet with Peña Nieto, it made Democrats very nervous. Would he finally give wavering, Republican-leaning centrist voters the assurances they need to take a chance on Trump? But then at the rally in Arizona, he couldn’t help but throw “red meat” to his angry, roaring acolytes. With a golden opportunity to show he can be presidential, Trump decided he’d rather look tough and strong, which he thinks means belligerent and bigoted. “If Donald Trump loses in November, it will be because he simply lacks the self-discipline to reach voters beyond his base.”
Only in America
■ An Indiana school district has proposed eliminating naming a valedictorian because it promotes “unhealthy competition” among students. Greater Clark School District superintendent Andrew Melin said students seeking the honor often choose classes that will boost their GPA. To avoid that, he wants to honor the top 10 percent of all graduates.
■ California State University, Los Angeles is now offering segregated housing for African-American students so they can avoid “racially insensitive remarks” and other “microaggressions.” The new “black living” community is being created in response to the Black Students Union’s demand for a “safe space.” A growing number of colleges, including the University of California, Berkeley, are setting aside special housing for students of color.
Good week for:
Intolerants, after Ohio’s Kent State University opened the country’s first entirely gluten-free campus cafeteria, because officials didn’t want students with celiac disease to feel “singled out.”
Coded messages, after Brazilian researchers revealed that Renaissance painter Michelangelo secretly included dozens of hidden images of female reproductive organs and pagan fertility symbols in painting the Sistine Chapel, to show his irritation with the Catholic Church’s male-dominated culture.
Having a taco, after “Latinos for Trump” founder Marco Gutierrez inspired widespread hilarity by warning that if the border isn’t walled off, “you’re gonna have taco trucks on every corner.” That would require 3.2 million taco trucks, The Washington Post estimated, or about 300 times the number of Starbucks stores.
Bad week for:
Men in black, after ISIS leaders banned referees from soccer matches in its Syrian stronghold because they uphold the rules of FIFA and not sharia.
Landmarks, after a group of vandals at an Oregon state park deliberately destroyed an iconic sandstone formation known as the Duckbill, telling a witness their friend had recently broken his leg climbing on it and that it was “a safety hazard.”
Civilization as we know it, after experts in robotics warned that by the year 2050 humans will be having sex with cyborgs— and may prefer them to other humans. “Sexbots would always be available and could never say no,” said researcher Joel Snell of Kirkwood College. “Robotic sex may become addictive.”
Zika bill fails again in Congress
As Congress returned from a seven-week recess, Senate Democrats this week blocked a $1.1 billion emergency funding bill to fight the Zika virus, citing provisions that Republicans had attached that would cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Lawmakers have been under pressure to address the spread of the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause devastating birth defects. Mosquitoes carrying the virus have already infected at least 56 people in southern Florida. Health officials say they are concerned that the virus could continue to spread in the southeastern U.S., where peak mosquito season does not end until November. Lawmakers now expect the anti-Zika funding to become part of stopgap measures that Congress must pass by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.