VIDEO: Trump Laughed When Rally-Goer Suggested Shooting Migrants, Now Victims Of This Weekend’s Shootings Blame Trump For These Massacres
President Trump held a rally in the Florida panhandle on May 8. During the rally, Trump spoke to his audience in Panama City Beach about what he claims to be a crisis at the border and the ongoing recovery of Puerto Rico. His silence and laughter when someone shouted migrants at the border should be shot has taken new meaning after a white man went to El Paso, Texas seeking to intentionally kill as many Mexicans as he could.
President Trump hosted a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida on May 8 and controversy followed his laughter when told migrants should be shot.
During the rally, Trump lamented about what he sees as a crisis at the southern border. According to Trump, it is an invasion as people reach the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum, which is a legal process.
“And don’t forget — we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons. We can’t,” Trump said about Border Patrol officers. “Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people? You can’t.”
It was then that a woman, according to numerous eyewitnesses, shouted, “Shoot them.” The outburst was followed by audience members and the President laughing about the idea of shooting migrants legally seeking asylum at the border.
Trump’s own words have sown so much division and hatred on race and immigration lines that Texans are telling him not to come during this horrific time.
Trump has made a political career out of attacking immigrants and asylum seekers. His rallies often digress into bully pulpit sermons dehumanizing and demonizing people desperately seeking asylum. As seen in his Panama City Beach, Florida rally, he finds it amusing that his supporters are calling for the killing of people crossing the border.
Make no mistake. His willingness to laugh at those jokes, to stoke those racial flames and his inability to call out white supremacy is aiding in the terrifying uptick of hate crimes we are seeing in this country. Trump has made denigrating migrants and asylum seekers the crux of his political career.
“From my perspective, he is not welcome here. He should not come here while we are in mourning,” Rep. Veronica Escobar, whose district includes most of El Paso, told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I would encourage the president’s staff members to have him do a little self-reflection. I would encourage them to show him his own words and his actions at the rallies.”
Trump’s reaction to someone suggesting that migrants be shot at the border has been followed with a strong backlash.
The rally was hosted the day after a deadly and traumatic shooting at a Colorado high school. Kendrick Castillo, a Latino student at the STEM school, sacrificed his life so save the lives of his fellow classmates.
The tone of the Trump rally after the shooting resonated with people for all the wrong reasons.
The way the crowd erupts in laughter at the thought of innocent people being shot at the southern border has outraged many on social media. Most outrageous for some was how the president joined in on the “joke” about violence.
“That’s only in the Panhandle, you can get away with that statement,” Trump said while laughing. “Only in the Panhandle!”
Despite everything else Trump said at the rally, the conversation today is around the threat of violence on the border.
The Trump administration has single-handedly caused a humanitarian crisis at the southern border through hurtful and xenophobic policies. The most harmful policy was when the Trump administration enacted a zero-tolerance policy that tore families apart with no intention to reunite them. According to The New York Times, the Trump administration admitted that it would take two years to reunite families that were torn apart because they did not keep records as to which children came from which family.
People are also pointing out that this rhetoric is likely what is behind the increase in hate crimes in places Trump visits.
A recent study examined the counties that hosted Trump rallies and their correlation with hate crimes. The study found that counties that hosted Trump rallies saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes following the rallies. There have been multiple studies that showed Trump’s presidency has led to an increase in hate crimes across the country.
At the same rally, Trump took time to attack Puerto Rico as an applause line.
“What the Democrats want to do, they want to give more and more,” Trump told the crowd in Panama City Beach, which is still recovering from Hurricane Michael, about Puerto Rico. “They complain, they want more money.”
Trump has consistently tried to downplay the disaster that has left Puerto Rico devastated for over a year.
Trump falsely claimed that the U.S. government has provided Puerto Rico with $91 billion in aid.
His comments go further than to discredit the disaster that continues to impact those living on the island. His comments to the crowd in Panama City Beach are being used to pit two groups of disaster victims against each other.
Both Puerto Rico and the Florida panhandle experienced devastating hurricanes and both deserve the appropriate amount of aid to recover. What Trump has done with this rally was to create a false narrative that if Puerto Rico receives aid than the Florida panhandle will be left without. However, that is not how that works. Emergency assistance can be given to both communities without using them as pawns to downplay the other’s tragedy.
After criticizing Puerto Rico, Trump then pledged $448 million for recovery in the Florida Panhandle.
Funding for the Florida panhandle after the category 5 hurricane were stalled at the beginning due to Trump’s government shutdown over his border wall. Now, Trump is telling desperate people in Florida that Democrats are to blame for the lack of funds. However, the stalling of disaster funds is because the Trump administration has refused to work with Congress to pass a bill that allocates funds for further Puerto Rico recovery.