For someone who said he would “drain the swamp,” President Trump’s instead been the same sort of self-serving, out-of-touch politician he vowed to run out of Washington, D.C.
His mistakes speak for themselves. Massive income-tax breaks for the wealthy that will force major cuts to necessary programs and services, as happened in Kansas, and the reckless pursuit of tariffs sure to trigger a global trade war and seriously wound agricultural interests were two epic blunders.
Then he used innocent children as political pawns in hopes of accomplishing the outlandish political goal of building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico — even though a wall would in no way solve the complex problem of illegal immigration.
But Trump’s supporters crave a wall, so he kept pandering to them in the midst of a humanitarian crisis at the southern border that saw more than 2,300 children separated from their families, many of whom trekked from Central America to flee poverty and gang violence.
While the recent child separation policy was Trump’s brainchild, he clumsily blamed Democrats for a law enacted on then-President George W. Bush’s watch. (The Bush administration did make an exception for parents with children.)
Child separations became the rule recently when Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero-tolerance” plan to criminally prosecute all who cross the border illegally. As undeniable comparisons to Japanese internment camps and Nazi Germany materialized, Trump finally relented and reversed his policy on Wednesday, while still citing a personal dilemma between being “weak” and “strong” on immigration.
“If you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart. Perhaps I’d rather be strong,” the president said in putting power above compassion.
Trump ally and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, an ultraconservative now running for governor, touted separating children from parents as a reasonable deterrent to keep people from crossing the border. As hateful as it may be, that was the Trump strategy.
It also was proof that while politicians on both sides of the aisle stumble in addressing illegal immigration, Trump and others on the radical right will make matters worse by exacting whatever human toll necessary to get their way.