Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
During a demagoguery-heavy White House event on Monday titled “Salute to the Heroes of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection,” President Trump invited a Latino CBP officer to the podium and told the assembled crowd that he “speaks perfect English.”
Trump’s apparent surprise that a nonwhite officer could possibly master this skill was the most cringeworthy moment of the proceedings, but it wasn’t the only extremely weird one. (This is Trump we’re talking about, after all.)
The president also repeatedly kept referring to Customs and Border Protection as “the CBC” — which is the common abbreviation for the Congressional Black Caucus, a group with whom he does not have the world’s greatest working relationship. Trump’s repeated error came despite the fact that the teleprompter he was reading off clearly read “CBP.”
Is the president having eyesight problems? Had he just been watching “Kids in the Hall” on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation? Given his firm policy of never admitting an error, we’ll likely never find out the real reason for his flub.
The rest of the event, which was designed to counter the left-wing “Abolish ICE” movement by painting immigration reformers as radicals who want to discard laws altogether, featured the standard fearmongering Trump rhetoric. Warning against voting Democratic this November — the president believes that immigration is a winning wedge issue for him going into the midterms — Trump said, “Blue wave means crime. It means open borders. Not good.”
Earlier, Georgia senator David Perdue called the movement to abolish ICE “treasonous,” and compared the agency to the Marines, even though it is only 15 years old. (The Marines were founded in 1775.)
Also on Monday, Trump sent a letter to state and local leaders lamenting that “the brave men and women of ICE have recently been subjected to a nationwide campaign of smears, insults and attacks by politicians shamelessly catering to the extreme elements in our society that desire lawlessness and anarchy.”