The leading Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reinforced his firm stance on immigration by reiterating that undocumented immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.” This rhetoric, previously condemned as xenophobic, resurfaced as Trump addressed a passionate crowd of thousands during a rally in Durham, New Hampshire, on Saturday (Dec 16).
“They’re poisoning the blood of our country,” Trump said adding that immigrants are inundating US from Asia and Africa, in addition to South America.
This rhetoric mirrored his previous presidency marked by a restrictive approach to immigration, including a zero-tolerance policy leading to family separations at the US-Mexico border and travel bans targeting citizens of predominantly Muslim nations.
In his latest comments, Trump while voicing concerns about the record number of migrants attempting to cross the US border illegally promised a crackdown on illegal immigration. Trump reiterated the hard-line stance that characterised his earlier tenure.
This recent iteration of the “poisoning the blood” language was earlier made during an interview with The National Pulse in September. It drew criticism from the Anti-Defamation League.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the league’s leader, condemned the language as “racist, xenophobic, and despicable.”
Jason Stanley, a Yale professor specialising in fascism, raised alarms, comparing Trump’s rhetoric to that of Adolf Hitler in “Mein Kampf,” stressing the potential dangers it poses to immigrants’ safety in the US.
Trump’s campaign defends him
In response to previous criticism, Trump’s campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, dismissed concerns as “nonsensical,” pointing to the prevalence of similar language in various media. When reportedly asked for comment on Trump’s latest remarks, Cheung shifted focus to controversies on US college campuses. He accused media and academia of providing a “safe haven for dangerous anti-Semitic and pro-Hamas rhetoric.”