Acosta: Trump Immigration Rollout Is a 'Dog-Whistle' to Base, Not Mexicans, Muslims, or Media

Wednesday was quite the day for the feckless CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta as he had his clock cleaned by White House policy adviser Stephen Miller over immigration. CNN gave Acosta hourly opportunities to change the narrative, but they did quite the opposite by only reinforcing Acosta’s derisory behavior masquerading as moralism.

Taking his first appearance after the blockbuster White House press briefing, Acosta childishly played doctor, telling CNN Newsroom’s Brooke Baldwin that he had diagnosed Trump with having been “sort of infected” by a disdain for Mexicans and Latinos following the launch of his presidential campaign in June 2015.

Acosta then introduced the idea that this policy rollout was a “dog whistle” to his base (read: racist code):

And does the President come out and say that emphatically and does he say it overtly? No, but when you hear the President make some of the comments that he makes about immigrants during the course of the campaign, talking about deportation forces and when you see Stephen Miller, a policy adviser to the President, talking about an English language preference for people coming into this country, it is a wink, it is a dog whistle to certain parts of this country that they are going to be looking at the racial and ethnic flow of immigrants coming into this country. I just think that's undeniable[.]

Ignoring the fact that plenty of countries have points based systems for immigration and that the world we live in is a far different one than any previous century, he continued on as if he were auditioning to be 2020 presidential candidate:

I just wanted to remind him, this is what the Statue of Liberty says. This is what our tradition has always been in this country. We bring in people from all walks of life. It's what makes America great. It was already great because of immigrants in this country.

Shifting gears to the 5:00 p.m. Eastern hour and The Situation Room, Acosta returned with help from host Wolf Blitzer. Blitzer seemed exasperated as he teed up Acosta to trash the White House.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Acosta replied by promoting Republicans as seemingly on his side of this equation using none other than Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.), so not exactly the best barometer:

Stephen Miller is right that when you're naturalized, they do want you to have some English-speaking skills. But that, of course, is at the end of the process of becoming a citizen of this country. The other thing we should point out is even though they touted this plan up here at the White House and had two Republican senators along with the President earlier today, there is Republican opposition to this up on Capitol Jill, Senator Graham from South Carolina speaking really on behalf of a lot of Republicans, I would suspect, as his plan is going to be looked at. He said earlier today that he's concerned that this immigration plan would damage his agricultural and hotel business that are big industries in South Carolina, and obviously that's going to be a concern in places like the southwest and other parts of the country where they rely on agricultural workers to do the kinds of jobs many Americans don't want to do. Of course, many of those immigrants don't speak English, Wolf. 

While former NAACP president Cornell Brooks and American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan offered typical accusations of racism against the right, Acosta went on a length tirade about how “this White House as an unhealthy fixation on what I call the three M's, the Mexicans, the Muslims, and the media.”

“Their politics tend to be crafted around bashing one of those three groups, and we just see it time and time again. And today on immigration, what the White House is essentially saying with a wink and a dog whistle to these battle states that they won is that immigrants coming in from Latin American are not taking your jobs,” Acosta continued.

Even though he wasn’t 100 percent right in his facts about the Statue of Liberty, Acosta continued to assert that he was correct:

It was odd to see the White House, Wolf, in the form of Steve Miller, one of the top policy advisers sort of sound like a Statue of Liberty originalist, as if there’s some difference between what the Statue of Liberty looked like when it was first brought over here to the united States, and what it looks like now with a poem attached to it. I just thought that was an odd moment. It was just a poor argument[.]

He concluded by stating that “whenever they’re bashing the media, Wolf, my sense always is — is that they’re always losing the argument and I think you saw that today.” 

The funny part is, for anyone who’s not a liberal (or trying to be one), they will always be under constant assault by the media. Put simply, they’re not there to be your publicists because that’s what they do for liberals.

What this White House press shop has done is fight back against the lunacy that’s being spouted daily by the likes of Acosta. I will admit that they certainly haven’t always been honest or truthful, but you can always count on the liberal media to overact.

In the end, Acosta’s arrogance, egocentrism, and grandstanding have served as a uniting force against the media claiming to be holding the Trump administration accountable. Seemingly, whenever the going gets tough for the White House, they can always count on the media’s pompous behavior to bail them out.

Here’s the relevant transcript from August 2's CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin
August 2, 2017
3:45 p.m. Easter

JIM ACOSTA: Remember when the President launched his campaign for President, he referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals and that bias against Latino immigrants has just sort of infected the President, some of his top officials who deal with this issue of immigration throughout that entire time period, and I think you saw some of that spill out in the briefing room today.

(....)

ACOSTA: And does the President come out and say that emphatically and does he say it overtly? No, but when you hear the President make some of the comments that he makes about immigrants during the course of the campaign, talking about deportation forces and when you see Stephen Miller, a policy adviser to the President, talking about an English language preference for people coming into this country, it is a wink, it is a dog whistle to certain parts of this country that they are going to be looking at the racial and ethnic flow of immigrants coming into this country. I just think that's undeniable and so, I just wanted to remind him, this is what the statue of liberty says. This is what our tradition has always been in this country. We bring in people from all walks of life. It's what makes America great. It was already great because of immigrants in this country.

Here’s the relevant transcript from CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer on August 2:

CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
August 2, 2017
5:03 p.m. Eastern

JIM ACOSTA: Steven Miller, senior policy adviser to the President, came into the briefing room today to sell the President's new immigration plan, and as you said, it hopes to revamp the nation’s immigration system but it would do so in a pretty striking way. It would prioritize English-speaking people coming into the U.S., highly skilled people coming into the U.S. which, obviously, is not in keeping with American tradition when it comes to immigrants coming into the United States. So, during what became a testy exchange with Stephen Miller, I reminded him what it says on the statue of liberty. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.” Statue of Liberty says nothing about speaking English or being highly skilled coming into the United States. 

(....)

5:06 p.m. Eastern

ACOSTA: After that exchange, Wolf, he referred to me as being ignorant and made some other comments there. We should point out, Wolf, as you know, generations of Americans have come into this country for decades not being able to speak English. They take classes such as English as a second language. Stephen Miller is right that when you're naturalized, they do want you to have some English-speaking skills. But that, of course, is at the end of the process of becoming a citizen of this country. The other thing we should point out is even though they touted this plan up here at the White House and had two Republican senators along with the President earlier today, there is Republican opposition to this up on Capitol Jill, Senator Graham from South Carolina speaking really on behalf of a lot of Republicans, I would suspect, as his plan is going to be looked at. He said earlier today that he's concerned that this immigration plan would damage his agricultural and hotel business that are big industries in South Carolina, and obviously that's going to be a concern in places like the southwest and other parts of the country where they rely on agricultural workers to do the kinds of jobs many Americans don't want to do. Of course, many of those immigrants don't speak English, Wolf. 

(....)

5:34 p.m. Eastern

ACOSTA: Well, Wolf, I think, at times, this White House as an unhealthy fixation on what I call the three M's, the Mexicans, the Muslims, and the media. Their politics tend to be crafted around bashing one of those three groups, and we just see it time and time again. And today on immigration, what the White House is essentially saying with a wink and a dog whistle to these battle states that they won is that immigrants coming in from Latin American are not taking your jobs. Wolf, immigration is not the reason why the factory closed in Pittsburgh or the coal mine was shut down in West Virginia. The people who are struggling there, they need policies that will help get them out of this mess that they've been for a generation where a lot of communities have been left behind. I saw it first hand out on the campaign trail, following Donald Trump around, trying to appeal to these workers and he did wisely target those workers, but he’s targeted them with, I think, a message just runs counter to what we see as an American tradition in this country. That’s why I quoted the Statue of Liberty to Stephen Miller. It was odd to see the White House, Wolf, in the form of Steve Miller, one of the top policy advisers sort of sound like a Statue of Liberty originalist, as if there’s some difference between what the Statue of Liberty looked like when it was first brought over here to the united States, and what it looks like now with a poem attached to it. I just thought that was an odd moment. It was just a poor argument and whenever they’re bashing the media, Wolf, my sense always is — is that they’re always losing the argument and I think you saw that today.


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW
NBDaily Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CNN The Situation Room CNN Newsroom Video Government & Press Jim Acosta Donald Trump Stephen Miller
Curtis Houck's picture