Last September, with time running out before the presidential election, Donald Trump was desperate to win Florida and its 29 electoral votes. With that in mind, the Republican traveled to Miami and spent some time at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, stressing the “common values” he shared with Haitian Americans.
“Whether you vote for me or not,” Trump said at the time, “I really want to be your biggest champion.”
After the election, in which Trump very narrowly prevailed in Florida, some observers pointed to the Republican’s outreach to the Haitian-American community as a key element of his success in the Sunshine State.
Now that he’s president, how is Trump demonstrating his commitment to serving as the community’s biggest champion? By doing largely the opposite.
The Department of Homeland Security announced on Monday that it plans to end “temporary protected status” for Haitians who were allowed entry to the U.S. following a devastating earthquake in 2010.
DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke announced on Monday that the protections will come to an end on July 22, 2019, according to a statement from the department.
Though exact estimates vary, NBC News reported that the number of Haitians allowed to enter the U.S. and work without fear of deportation in recent years is between 46,000 and 60,000. These people are now being shown the door. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) marveled overnight at the Trump administration’s “astounding lack of compassion.”
And what about Trump’s “I really want to be your biggest champion” vow? Haitian Americans are now seeing what so many other constituencies have already discovered: this president is comfortable betraying those to whom he made promises.
As a candidate, Trump told LGBT voters, “I will fight for you.” Once in office, he did the opposite. As a candidate, Trump said he’d be the best friend coal miners ever had. Once in office, he put David Zatezalo in charge of mine safety – despite Zatezalo’s record of serious safety violations in coal mines.
In Trump World, loyalty is a one-way street, with the president prioritizing himself and his political agenda first.