Trump said “women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before” as he slammed Democrats, ‘weak’ border laws at a tax roundtable in West Virginia. Read more: https://t.co/YfYCZ6XjfU pic.twitter.com/iaoUrYKQOj— POLITICO (@politico) April 5, 2018
President Donald Trump turned a roundtable event in West Virginia on taxes into a full-fledged rant on undocumented immigrants.
He talked about taxes and the opioid pandemic — like he was supposed to — before literally flipping his notes in the air because they were “too boring.”
President Trump throws out his prepared remarks in West Virginia: "To hell with it ... that would have been a little boring" https://t.co/7BJiJv8ahv— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 5, 2018
He claimed women from Central America are raped at "levels that nobody has ever seen before.” Nobody knows where he derived this conclusion from but, apparently, it was an attempt to advocate strengthening U.S. immigration laws.
“And remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower when I opened. Everybody said, 'Oh, he was so tough,' and I used the word rape. And yesterday, it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don't want to mention that. So we have to change our laws,” Trump said at the event.
The caravan of Central American migrants is an annual event arranged by activists to highlight the hardships faced by immigrants on the journey to the U.S. border in order to gain asylum, usually escaping violent threats in their homelands. The migrants are usually from countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
“Not sure why the media is acting like this isn't a well-established fact — women and young girls are brutally victimized on the journey north. [It] strikes me as quite bizarre that reporters would try to cover up the gross atrocities perpetrated by smugglers and coyotes,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement after Trump’s comments.
Sanders derived her analysis from a report that said "robberies, rapes and assaults — perpetrated by smugglers, cartel members and Mexican immigration agents — are common."
However, female migrants argue with Trump’s claims saying they chose to travel with the caravan for protection.
Latin America Working Group's senior associate, Daniella Burgi-Palomino criticized Trump is “just looking for more excuses to demonize migrants from Latin America, migrants who are currently on the caravan.”
"It really makes absolutely no sense to use this narrative that migrants, who are coming because of violence, are violent themselves, and then say that's why we need to close our border. The woman who's endured sexual abuse should not be turned away at the border. She's in need of health and medical attention,” added Burgi-Palomino.
The president repeatedly pointed out Mexico and Canada’s “tough” immigration law and also suggested U.S. reconsider birth citizenship status.
"If you have a baby on our land, congratulations, that baby is a United States citizen," Trump lamented.
He also took out time — yet again — to blame the Democrats for “weak border laws.” Previously Trump claimed Democrats were the reason the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program deal is dead. DACA is an Obama-era program that protected the rights of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Trump, clearly reminiscing his “finest” moments, also went back to his favorite conspiracy theory, claiming “millions and millions of people” voted illegally in California in 2016.
“In many places, like California, the same person votes many times. They always like to say that’s a conspiracy theory. It’s not a conspiracy theory, folks,” said Trump.
After Trump’s unsubstantiated claims, the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was quick to fire back at the U.S. president’s constant bashing of Mexico.
“President Trump: If you wish to reach agreements with Mexico, we stand ready, as we have proved until now, always willing to engage in a dialogue, acting in earnestness, in good faith and in a constructive spirit,” Nieto said as he addressed from the presidential palace in Mexico City. “If your recent statements are the result of frustration due to domestic policy issues, to your laws or to your Congress, it is to them that you should turn to, not to Mexicans. We will not allow negative rhetoric to define our actions. We will act only in the best interest of Mexicans.”
Thumbnail/Banner: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque