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Trump Attacks Somali Refugees In Minnesota Rally

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in 2016 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in 2016 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

At a campaign rally in Minnesota, Trump doubled down on his anti-immigration rhetoric and the same divisive tactics that brought him to the White House in 2016.

President Trump gave his first official campaign rally since House Democrats began their impeachment inquiry last month, targeting Somali refugees, Rep. Ilhan Omar, the Bidens, and what he called a “brazen attempt to overthrow our government,” in reference to the inquiry. Speaking in Minneapolis Thursday night, Trump gave what analyst Aaron Rupar believes is a “window of sorts” into his method for winning reelection: stoking hatred, bigotry, and paranoia in the face of encroaching impeachment.

“As you know, for many years, leaders in Washington brought large numbers of refugees to your state from Somalia without considering the impact on schools and communities and taxpayers,” Trump said. The president also pushed groundless conspiracy theories about Rep. Ilhan Omar and called her a “disgrace to our country.”

“At his rally just now, Trump called me an “America-hating socialist” and a “disgrace.” He shouted xenophobic conspiracy theories about me,” tweeted Omar, whose face flashed on large screens during the rally. “He scolded my district for voting for me. His hate is no match for our movement. Stand with me by donating now.”

Trump Repeatedly Bashes Somalia

Omar and others have warned that the president’s hateful rallies spur death threats and violence. As HuffPost reporter Ryan Reilly tweeted, “three Trump supporters are currently in federal prison for plotting a terrorist attack to kill Somali refugees.”

“Can you imagine being Somali-American and watching this? This is the kind of hate rally seen in authoritarian and fascist countries,” tweeted writer Elad Nehorai. “We Jews have seen this before, as have countless other minorities. This is the powerful hurting the vulnerable to empower themselves.”

Rep. Omar, a Muslim Somali refugee and a leftist, quickly became one of the favorite political targets of Trump after she was elected last year. In July, Trump tweeted that Omar and three other congresswomen (all of whom were born in the United States) should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” At another rally in North Carolina, Trump supporters chanted “send her back” after the president’s remarks about the congresswoman.

Trump’s focus on Muslims and Somalis goes back before Omar, however. “Two days before the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Trump told the crowd at a campaign rally in Minneapolis they had ‘suffered enough’ as a result of ‘filthy refugee vetting’ that had allowed an influx of Somalis into their state,” recounted the Washington Post’s Allyson Chiu.

In New York Times’ reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear’s new book, “Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration, the journalists comment that Trump and Stephen Miller “seemed to have a particular dislike for Somalia, often citing it or its nationals when they spoke of the potential dangers of refugees and other immigrants.”

Trump recently announced that the refugee cap would be lowered to 18,000 next year, and issued an executive order that permits state and local governments to block refugees from staying in their areas. The president has also banned travel from five mostly Muslim majority countries, including Somalia.

Trump Attacks Biden

Trump also crudely attacked Joe and Hunter Biden, whom the president’s attempts to enlist the Ukrainian government to investigate led to the impeachment inquiry.

“Hunter, you know nothing about energy, you know nothing about China, you know nothing about anything, frankly,” Trump said to a near-capacity crowd. “Hunter, you’re a loser.”

Biden “was never considered smart,” Trump said. “He was never considered a good senator. He was only a good vice president because he figured out how to kiss Barack Obama’s ass.”

The rally came a day after a Fox News Poll showed a majority of Americans support Trump’s removal from office, and the same day that 17 former Watergate prosecutors formally recommended his impeachment in a Washington Post op-ed. After reposting a tweet warning of “civil war” if he were to be impeached, Trump is not only doubling down on the same divisive tactics that brought him to the White House, but bringing serious concerns about the peacefulness of the next transition of power in America.

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Peter Castagno

Peter Castagno is a freelance writer with a Master’s degree in International Conflict Resolution. He has traveled throughout the Middle East and Latin America to gain firsthand insight in some of the world’s most troubled areas, and he plans on publishing his first book in 2019.

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2 Comments

  1. truthseeker October 12, 2019

    There are extremely high levels of crime in those areas in Minneapolis where large numbers of Somalis have settled. I have a neighbor who worked in a hospital there and he said it wasn’t safe to go to his car after his shift. He was glad to leave.

    Reply
    1. Robin Smith October 13, 2019

      Do you have any citations, besides your friend’s words, that back up your crime claim?

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