Fresh off the heels of his disastrous presidential debate performance, during which he refused to condemn white nationalists, President Trump traveled to Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday, where he engaged in some fresh demagoguery in front of a delighted crowd.
Trump whipped his overwhelmingly white audience into a frenzy on the topic of immigration and Ilhan Omar, the outspoken Minnesota congresswoman who has often been the target of the president’s xenophobic rhetoric.
The president claimed that Joe Biden would enable a 700 percent increase in refugees in the state, turning the state into a “refugee camp” — a claim echoing a recent Trump ad claiming that immigrants will bring more COVID-19 to America, which was so incendiary that it didn’t meet Facebook’s standards. (The crowd booed at the mention of refugees.) Trump then went after Omar, claiming she was guilty of “ballot harvesting” (based on a deceptive video put out by right-wing disinformation prince James O’Keefe) and corruption, and then lobbing a familiar, yet newly repugnant attack. The crowd briefly chanted “Lock Her Up!” — a chorus usually reserved for Hillary Clinton.
Some Republicans offered extremely mild criticism of Trump after he told the violent group Proud Boys to “stand by” on Tuesday. But poisonous anti-immigrant (and particularly Islamophobic) rhetoric is so standard for the president that Wednesday’s comments are unlikely to cause much of a ripple among his allies — or even among his Democratic adversaries, who like the general public have become inured to racism as a campaign strategy.