State of the Union a Dog Whistle to Racists

"Thank you President Trump," former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke tweeted after Trump's address.

ALAMY

Former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke was one of the first to commend President Donald Trump on his State of the Union (SOTU) address Tuesday night as the entire speech was an affirmation of Trump's view of whose lives matter.


"Americans are dreamers, too," Trump said at the beginning of the portion of his speech on immigration.

Duke's response tells you everything you need to know:

Not only was the play on words a jab at the 800,000 DACA immigrants whose future in this country is being held hostage by Republicans, it was similar to the white nationalist response to "Black Lives Matter" — "All Lives Matter."

In Trump's speech, Corey Adams, a Black man, was used as a prop. He was the only African American to be called out by the president.

Adams is a welder from Ohio whom Trump said will benefit from his tax overhaul plan. Shortly after Trump spoke of Adams, including calling him "a good welder," he poignantly used the efforts of a young, white boy to take a dig at Colin Kaepernick and other Black NFL players who've taken a knee during the national anthem.

"Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, Calif., who noticed that veterans' graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day," Trump said.

"Preston's reverence for those who have served our nation reminds us why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance and why we proudly stand for the national anthem."

Republicans gave a rousing round of applause.

Following the president's remarks veteran journalist April Ryan immediately tweeted:

"Taking the knee is about bringing attention to police involved shootings not against soldiers or the flag nor the anthem." 

According to a recent Mapping Police Violence report, in 2017, police killed 1,129 people, of which 27 percent were Black — despite Blacks being just 13 percent of the population. Officers were only charged with a crime in 1 percent of cases. U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III has scaled back programs to reform police departments, which was initiated by the Obama administration.

Kaepernick, 29, now a free agent, began taking a knee during the national anthem in the 2016 NFL preseason to call attention to police brutality against Blacks.

"There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder," he said in August 2016.

In 2017, Trump continued to press NFL owners to fire the predominantly Black players who kneel during the national anthem.

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now,'" Trump said during a rally in Alabama in September. "Out! He's fired."

In his SOTU address, Trump also took credit for the work of an African American — former President Barack Obama.

"Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low," he began. "And something I'm very proud of, African American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history."

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) immediately tweeted in response:

Many members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) wore kente cloth as a rebuke of Trump reportedly calling African nations "shithole countries" in a meeting on immigration Jan. 11.

The CBC tweeted that the members who did not boycott the SOTU attended "to stare racism in the face."

The group also slammed Trump for taking credit for the trend in unemployment.

Anti-immigrant advocate and White House senior policy advisor Stephen Miller reportedly authored Trump's address, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

"Miller has the president's ear, and he uses his position to push policies based on faulty statistics from the Center for Immigration Studies, an anti-immigrant hate group," the SPLC tweeted on Tuesday.

Trump's speech used the pain of parents of children killed by the MS-13 gang, who were present, to support his administration's four-tier immigration plan. The plan includes a path to citizenship "for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age," but he said "a great wall on the Southern border" must be built and the country must move toward a merit-based visa system and eliminate chain migration.

Trump said the U.S. must limit legal immigration to protect Americans against crime.

But that's not the case.

According to a report released this month by the Department of Justice, more than 13 percent of the U.S. population is foreign-born, but only 5.6 percent of inmates held in state, local and federal prisons are foreign-born.

He also claimed that chain migration, "under the current broken system," is when "a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted:

Trump said the four-tier immigration plan "fulfills my ironclad pledge to sign a bill that puts America first."

Yes, David Duke's America.

REUTERS

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UPDATE: May 26, 2018

Ireland has voted to repeal its abortion ban. The Irish Times exit poll suggested that women voted by 70 percent in favor of legalizing abortion.

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