Things That Matter

People Across Twitter Are Left Saying WTF After Trump Says He Admires Former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Because He’s Hispanic

On Friday it was reported that Trump’s Labor Secretary, Alex Acosta, the only Latino member of his cabinet, would be resigning. The news came as the secretary was under intense scrutiny for having let an alleged sexual predator off easy.

Trump’s press conference was already off to a strange start, even by Trump standards, but it was his comments about Alex Acosta’s heritage that really sent Twitter abuzz.

Trump’s Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is resigning amid criticism of his brokering of a plea deal for alleged sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein in a child sex case.

Credit: @cnnbrk / Twitter

President Trump’s embattled labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, announced his resignation on Friday amid continuing questions about his handling of a sex crimes case involving the financier Jeffrey Epstein when Mr. Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

But it was Trump’s handling of the resignation and press conference that really sent Twitter into overdrive.

President Trump delivered lengthy and rambling remarks to reporters with soon-to-be former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta by his side. Trump announced Acosta is resigning in the wake of nationwide outrage over his gift of a sweetheart deal to accused child rapist and trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

When Trump announced that Alex Acosta was leaving his administration he added in that the Labor Secretary was Hispanic not once, but twice.

First, he said, “He’s a Hispanic man. He went to Harvard.” And he later added, “He’s Hispanic, which I so admire because maybe it was a little tougher for him and maybe not.”

Now with Acosta out, Trump has zero Hispanics in his cabinet.

Credit: @PhilipRucker / Twitter

Acosta was the first Latino appointee to Trump’s mostly straight, cisgender, white, and male cabinet. The president has since nominated Jovita Carranza to be Small Business Administator, a cabinet level position, but she has not yet been confirmed. Trump has notably appointed very few women and minorities to the federal judiciary or top positions in his administration.

This is not the first time Trump has tokenized people from minority groups. During his 2016 presidential campaign, he singled out a a supporter of color, saying “Look at my African American over here.” He also reportedly suggested that he only wanted short Jewish guys — not black people — to be “counting” his money.

But it was really the Twitter reactions that made this story. Here are some of the best:

One Twitter user pointed out the president had just committed the cardinal sin that so many non-POC committ: the “I’m not a racist because I have a POC friend” excuse but this time on national television.

There are so many good memes, like this one that basically shows our collective reaction to Trump’s words.

Credit: @thegandiman / Twitter

Let’s quickly recap.

Trump went to unusually great lengths to defend and praise Acosta, at one point praising him for his heritage.

“He was a great student at Harvard,” Trump said of his outgoing Labor Secretary. “He’s Hispanic, which I so admire, because maybe it was a little tougher for him – and maybe not. But he did an unbelievable job as the secretary of Labor.”

Many questioned how he could say he admires Hispanics given his treatment of largely Hispanic and Latino migrants seeking asylum in the US.

Credit: @atrupar / Twitter

Seriously, Trump’s rhetoric against people of color, and Latinos in particular, has been nothing short of cruel, mean, and inciting hate.

Then there’s those who offered up a little #tbt.

Because few of us can forget this moment. Trump was still running for president back in 2016 and at a restaurant in New York’s Trump Tower. on Cindo de Mayo. he was interviewed while eating a taco bowl salad and basically used that as proof that he’s not a racist.

At the time he said ” The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”

Yes, that’s a direct quote.

Aside from the ridiculous mention of Acosta being Hispanic, many were upset Trump was defending a man who let an alleged sexual predator off easy.

Acosta, a former federal prosecutor, agreed to a sweetheart plea deal in 2008 with billionaire financier and former Trump friend Jeffrey Epstein. Last week, Epstein — who Trump previously called a “terrific guy” — was charged with sex trafficking involving girls as young as 14. In a lengthy press conference this week, Acosta took no responsibility at all for the non-prosecution agreement.

And this meme basically sums up the collective reaction of Latino Twitter.

When will it all finally come to an end…?

READ: In A Seriously Awkward Announcement, Vice President Pence Went To Florida To Launch A ‘Latinos For Trump’ Coalition

Trump Is Dismantling Obama-Era Rules Prohibiting Discrimination In Federal Housing Policy

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Trump Is Dismantling Obama-Era Rules Prohibiting Discrimination In Federal Housing Policy

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There have been a few constants in Donald Trump’s administration that will always be remembered with fear and an uncanny feeling of uneasiness by Latino communities and by immigrants in general. The travel ban imposed on citizens from countries of Muslim majority, the constant raids that ICE has been involved in, family separations at the border, the famous Wall, the pressure that the White House has put on Mexico to stop Central American migrant caravans at the Guatemala-Mexico border… the list is painfully long.

Another constant regarding immigration and the Trump years is POTUS’ seemingly unmovable desire to reverse Barack Obama’s major changes to immigrant rights. Well now, a mere few months from the 2020 presidential campaign, the Trump administration is taking a step that will make Brown and Black populations feel even more vulnerable. 

Trump intends to reverse Barack Obama’s anti-discrimination housing rules.

Credit: Unsplash

This would be a terrible blow for diversity. Obama’s rules blocked banks from denying loans based on race or ethnicity, and cities from segregating people experiencing financial hardship. 

But what are the changes being made by the Trump administration exactly?

Credit: Don Freidberg / Flickr

The changes are being spearheaded by Ben Carson, Housing Secretary and former presidential hopeful. As Politico reports, Carson is “ moving to scrap an Obama policy withholding federal funds from cities if they don’t address segregation”. Politico also emphasized that, additionally, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “has proposed cutting back on collecting data that helps track discrimination in the mortgage market.”

This basically means that speculators and city planners would have free reign on how neighbourhoods are laid out in terms of racial, financial and cultural background. Investors can benefit projects that cater for outsiders instead of local populations, further contributing to gentrification. Carson has said that Obama’s strengthening of the Fair Housing Law ended up “actually suffocating investment in some of our most distressed neighborhoods.”

The problem is the nature of said investment and whether it forces underprivileged communities out due to escalating prices in real estate, rent and basic commodities. Shaun Donovan, who worked on the Obama administration’s approach to housing, wrote in a New York Times editorial that“housing plays a key role in advancing economic opportunity and closing the wealth gap between people of color and white Americans. African-Americans and Latinos have less than one-tenth and one-eighth, respectively, of the household wealth of white Americans, and homeownership remains the largest source of wealth-building for most families”. Taking this into account, it is fair to say that any changes to how discrimination of prevented will have a considerable impact on the true inclusion of Black and Brown communities and individuals in the American economy. 

Trump officials say these measures are an intention to cut red tape, but they could spell doom for diversity.

Credit: The Bronx Beat

The administration argues that these changes are meant to facilitate a swifter process for developers and for cities, who would be able to bypass obstacles for construction projects. But these obstacles are there for a reason! And this reason is diversity. Democrats and activists are getting up in arms. Lisa Rice, president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, has said: “They’re trying to eliminate the ability to enforce fair housing. They do not want to promote fair housing. They do not want to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination.”

Historically, U.S. cities have been ghettoized and during the Obama administration some of the policies that allowed this system to be perpetuated were given a second look, and in some cases reversed. 

Changes to Fair Housing Laws could spell even lower levels of homeownership among minorities.

Credit: Pixabay

Activists say that the Trump Administration is ignoring the fact that there is discimination in real estate and housing, and that pretending that race has nothing to do with this is dangerous and irresponsible. And the levels of home ownership among historically vulnerable communities is presenting a downhill trend. As Politico reports:“The white rate [of home ownership] is about 73 percent, compared with a little under 43 percent among black people.”

Legal experts think that the changes proposed by Trump and Carson are undermining the capacity of minorities to actually be able to afford places in their own neighborhoods. Thomas Silverstein of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law,Y told Politico: “I think there’s an effort by this administration to narrow the scope and the sort of meaning of civil rights protections so there’s just a hollowed-out husk of what’s actually protected”. 

Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller Believed DREAMERs Would Replace White Americans

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Leaked Emails Show Stephen Miller Believed DREAMERs Would Replace White Americans

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White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller is still in office, despite mounting proof that he harbors white supremacist’s beliefs and numerous politicians and activists calling for his resignation. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Hatewatch” vertical published a series of Miller’s emails leaked by an ex-Breitbart news editor. 

In the emails, Miller expressed fear that DREAMERs would replace white Americans and suggested deporting immigrants on trains to scare them. SPLC’s Michael Hayden says Miller is a supporter of the “great replacement theory” championed by white supremacists who fear white people will become a racial minority. The theory has been echoed in the manifestos of mass shooters and prominent white supremacist leaders. 

Miller believes his fellow Republicans aren’t hard enough on immigrants. 

“Demanding DREAMers be given citizenship because they ‘know no other home.’ That principle is an endorsement of perpetual birthright citizenship for the foreign-born,” Miller wrote in an email.  “Not only will the U.S.-born children of future illegal immigrants and guest workers be made automatic U.S. citizens, but their foreign-born children will too because, as [former Republican House Majority Leader Eric] Cantor said, ‘Our country was founded on the principle.’”

Miller praised Florida’s very own former governor Jeb Bush for his use of moderate rhetoric to push extreme policies. The emails leaked are from around 2015, when Miller was an aide to Senator Jeff Sessions before being selected by Trump.

 “Jeb [Bush] has mastered the art of using immigration rhetoric to sound ‘moderate’ while pushing the most extremist policies,” Miller wrote in an email. 

Former Breitbart editor Katie McHugh provided over 900 emails to SPLC in which Miller expressed disdain for non-white immigrants. McHugh says she leaked the emails addressed to her from Miller to expose the hidden “evil” of the Trump administration’s immigration policies. 

“In a November 2015 email that Hatewatch has not previously published, Miller forwarded an interview with Phyllis Schlafly from far-right conspiracy website WorldNetDaily that argued undocumented immigrants should be shipped out on trains to ‘scare out the people who want to undo our country,’” according to SPLC. 

25 interfaith groups call for the resignation of Stephen Miller. 

Yesterday, 25 faith groups, among them many prominent Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders including the Anti-Defamation League, The Nation’s Mosque, and African American Ministers in Action, signed a letter calling for Miller’s resignation. 

“Stephen Miller authored many of these destructive policies and helped ensure their enactment via his network of anti-immigrant officials throughout the federal government. Further, these policies have been paired with heightened and unrelenting anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric coming from the White House,” the organizations said. 

The group also called out the Trump administration for allowing white supremacist views in the White House. 

“At one point in history, harboring a white supremacist in the White House could harm an administration. Today, President Trump appears unbothered by his close official’s ties to white supremacy. This cannot stand. As organizations of many faiths, who feel love and respect where Miller advances disdain and hate, we call for his resignation immediately,” the letter stated

Last November 100 lawmakers demanded Stephen Miller resign. 

Miller has been in the hot seat for a while. Last year 100 lawmakers demanded the advisor’s resignation, a couple of weeks ago 25 Jewish members of congress joined that call following Rolling Stone’spublication of a different set of leaked emails that further establish his support of xenophobic ideas. 

“A documented white nationalist has no place in any presidential administration, and especially not in such an influential position,” the 100 representatives wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump. “Miller’s white supremacist influence on your immigration policy, and it seems like that his perfidious adherence to extremist ideology has shaped your administration in ways that are not yet public.”

In the Rolling Stone emails, Miller called refugees “foreign-born terrorists” and expressed a fondness for a book called “Camp of Saints” which is a favorite of neo-Nazis.

“The dystopian 1973 novel is widely regarded as racist and traffics in fear-mongering about immigrant invasions. It is popular among white nationalist circles and has been invoked by former White House aide Steve Bannon and Iowa Congressman Steve King,” according to Newsweek

Other emails show Miller is using his influence in the White House to coordinate anti-immigration policies that reflect his views. 

“In the emails, [senior advisor at ICE Jon] Feere strategizes with Miller about how to use the federal government to amplify their anti-immigration message; tees up potential attacks on prominent Democratic politicians; directly briefs Miller in great detail about upcoming enforcement actions and policy changes in the works; and recommends to Miller people the administration should hire to expedite its immigration agenda,” according to Rolling Stone

While Miller has still not resigned, the pressure is continuing to mount in Congress and among activists.