When it comes to immigration policy, Republican politicians tend to be unyieldingly conservative, but they’re far more circumspect when talking about the issue. GOP officials realize that there’s little upside to party rhetoric that condemns immigrants – Republicans are comfortable voting like Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa); they just don’t want to sound like him.
With this in mind, it was quite striking to hear GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump argue, during his surreal kickoff speech in New York yesterday, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Trump talked to msnbc’s Kasie Hunt after the event, and the Republican stuck to the same line.
KASIE: In your speech today, you said that “some rapists are coming across the border from Mexico.”TRUMP: Absolutely.KASIE: What did you mean by that?TRUMP: Well you have rapists, they’re sending us not their finest people. And it’s people other than Mexico also. We have drug dealers coming across, we have rapists, we have killers, we have murderers. What, do you think they’re gonna send us – I mean it’s common sense – do you think they’re gonna send us their finest people? Their answer is no.
Trump is apparently under the impression that Mexico, among other countries, are dispatching immigrants, picking and choosing who gets “sent” to the United States.
In case it’s not obvious, this really isn’t what Republican officials want Americans to hear from Republican candidates. In fact, during Trump’s speech yesterday, I saw quite a few people joking on Twitter about how deeply sorry they felt for RNC Chairman Reince Priebus – Trump’s apparent xenophobia undermining all of Priebus’ efforts to improve his party’s image.
But more specifically, what does the RNC have to say about Trump’s antics?
ThinkProgress flagged an interview Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s Chief Strategist & Communications Director, did yesterday with CNN about the newest White House hopeful.
CNN COMMMENTATOR: There are a lot of Hispanic voters who will not be happy, Sean, with Donald Trump saying something like that. Let me read from the GOP postmortem, the autopsy. ‘Among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.’ And it talks about inclusivity, so how does that need square with the kind of rhetoric that you hear Donald Trump using?SPICER: I mean, as far as painting Mexican Americans with that kind of a brush, I think that’s probably something that is not helpful to the cause.
He then changed the subject.
I rather doubt Trump is thinking about the impact of his candidacy on his ostensible party, but I have a hunch the DNC is far happier with yesterday’s announcement than the RNC.