At least two of the immigrants who appeared in the naturalization ceremony that aired during the Republican National Convention on Tuesday night didn't know until "a few minutes before" that President Trump would be involved, nor did they have any idea the footage was going to be part of the convention, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Sudha Narayanan, an Indian immigrant, and Neimat Awadelseid, a Sudanese immigrant, told the Journal they "didn't mind" being a part of the convention, only that they hadn't been told prior to the ceremony how it was being used. But critics, including Tim Miller, the political director for Republican Voters Against Trump, slammed the Trump campaign for using the ceremony for a political purpose, without the consent of the attendees. "He's exploiting these people at a ceremony that is sacred and fundamental to what makes this country great," Miller said.
Others echoed the complaints even before The Wall Street Journal's story came out. "[H]ow sad, how wrong it was, that their first moments as citizens were spent in a White House full of people almost certainly engaged in breaking the law while their new chief executive treated them as nothing more than props in a political spectacle," wrote USA Today. The New York Times notes that "[e]ven though he praised the new citizens, Mr. Trump has long sought to reduce legal immigration into the United States and has recently moved to shrink or eliminate visa programs that allow companies to hire foreigners to work in the United States."
Added MSNBC's Joy Reid, "My mother was a naturalized citizen. Donald Trump using the ceremony that meant so much to her (in large part because she was excited to be able to vote) IN the White House, is really hard to watch. It's an abomination, in that this ceremony is NOT about worshiping a president."