President Donald Trump is quick to harp on immigrants when one of them has done something wrong. But he also tends to ignore immigrants’ positive contributions to our society — that is, unless, that immigrant is white.
Trump sent out a tweet on Monday congratulating SpaceX founder Elon Musk for his successful launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket.
Congratulations @ElonMusk and @SpaceX on the successful #FalconHeavy launch. This achievement, along with @NASA’s commercial and international partners, continues to show American ingenuity at its best! pic.twitter.com/eZfLSpyJPK— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2018
The Falcon Heavy launch was indeed worth lauding over — but it’s also an accomplishment by a company set up by an immigrant. Musk was born in South Africa, moved to Canada, and only emigrated to America during his college years. Questions still linger over whether he violated immigration rules while obtaining citizenship status in the United States.
Trump’s praise of Musk is a significant departure from how he would describe immigrants in any other situation, especially if they had a different skin color. Earlier that same day, Trump tweeted out his belief that immigration policies needed changing due to a drunk driver killing an NFL player. That driver was an undocumented immigrant, Trump was quick to note.
Trump has also turned a blind eye to someone who lives in the White House he resides in. First lady Melania Trump broke immigration rules while she lived in the U.S. on a tourist visa, and yet Trump has nothing to say about her or whether she should be deported.
The inconsistencies are more glaring when you note what country Musk originally came from. Last month, reports surfaced that Trump had said he didn’t want immigrants from places he called “sh*thole countries,” areas like Haiti and nations in Africa. Musk, being born in South Africa, would have been an immigrant Trump would have liked to have refused entry into the U.S.
Hopefully someone in the White House will point this hypocrisy out to Trump. Yet it’s unclear whether it will matter much: When it comes to immigrants, it seems Trump prefers to temper his emotions depending on the skin color of the individual he’s talking about.