Andrea Mitchell FREAKS OUT Over ‘Anti-Hispanic’ Immigration Rule

On her MSNBC show on Wednesday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell adopted the unhinged  talking points of 2020 Democratic candidates as she claimed that comments from Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli proved that Trump administration policies were “anti-Hispanic.”

“Ken Cuccinelli, that top Trump immigration official, is coming under renewed fire today after rewriting Emma Lazarus’s iconic poem on the Statue of Liberty after announcing new regulations of course that will make it harder for low-income legal immigrants from getting into the U.S. or staying here if they rely on taxpayer-funded assistance programs,” Mitchell scolded after playing a clip of Cuccinelli responding to a slanted question about the poem during an interview with NPR Tuesday morning.

 

 

The liberal host continued her barrage, teeing up another soundbite of Cuccinelli appearing on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront Tuesday evening: “Well, last night, Cuccinelli was not backing down, he was doubling down. Even making it more obvious that this new rule is targeting Hispanics.”

The Trump administration official faced an interrogation from Burnett and replied by pointing out the historical context of Lazarus’s poem: “That poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies, where people were considered ‘wretched’ if they weren’t in the right class.”

Mitchell was somehow aghast at the benign comment and even radically twisted Cuccinelli’s words into a completely different quote:  

Really?...Ken Cuccinelli’s extraordinary rewrite of Emma Lazarus and then doubling down to say, “Well, in Europe, the huddled masses breathing – yearning to breathe free were from a class-based society, which makes it okay to let them in.” I mean, I’m trying to get my head around all of this.

Cuccinelli’s simple factual point was that Lazarus was referring to the tremendous influx of largely European immigrants to the United States over a century ago, who came from societies with rigid class structures to a new country in which anyone could succeed regardless of such considerations. He in no way suggested that Hispanics, or any other minority group, should be excluded from the American immigration process.

That didn’t keep Mitchell and her guests from creating an alternate reality. Joining in the hysteria, PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor launched into a tirade:

This is really the administration making very clear who they want to be immigrants in this country. The President has said he doesn’t want people from s-hole countries coming here, he’s also said that he prefers people from Norway rather than people from Africa....So we now have Ken Cuccinelli making it very clear that he does not want to have people using these programs that are really bridges to the American dream coming to the United States....I think it’s really, in some ways, against the American values. And there are a lot of people who are deeply offended about what Ken Cuccinelli is saying.

On Tuesday, even NBC reporter Kelly O’Donnell had to correct MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin after he made the same assertion about Trump only wanting immigrants from “Nordic countries.” Mitchell never pushed back on Alcindor.

Instead, the host turned to NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker and fretted: “Does the White House have any – is there any pause about this?...this is making it so clear that it is anti-Hispanic – the Green Card rule I mean.” Welker replied in part: “There’s no doubt it is prompting a sharp backlash among the President’s critics.”

Obviously those “critics” include supposed journalists like Mitchell and Alcindor, who were repeating almost word for word the same attack lines as 2020 Democratic candidates. During a report for NBC’s Today show Wednesday morning, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez touted Cuccinelli “sparking outrage” on the left, followed by a clip of Julian Castro declaring: “They throw things like this out, which is red meat for their base of people who want to create a whiter nation.” The reporter then recited a similar quote from Beto O’Rourke via Twitter: “This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people.”

If Mitchell had bothered to play more of Cuccinelli’s remarks to Burnett, she would have received an important history lesson on U.S. immigration policy:

BURNETT: The poem reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of the teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” “Wretched,” “poor,” “refuse,” right? That’s what the poem says America is supposed to stand for. So what do you think America stands for?

CUCCINELLI: Well, of course that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies. Where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class. And it was introduced – it was written one year – one year after the first federal public charge rule was written that says, and I’ll quote it, “Any person unable to take care of himself without becoming a public charge,” unquote, would be inadmissible, or in the terms that my agency deals with, they can’t do what’s called adjusting status, getting a Green Card, becoming legal permanent residents. Same exact time, Erin, same exact time. And the year is went on the Statue of Liberty, 1903, another federal law was passed expanding the elements of public charge by Congress.

Here is a full transcript of the August 14 discussion on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports:

12:17 PM ET

RACHEL MARTIN [NPR’S MORNING EDITION]: Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus’s words etched on the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor,” are also part of the American ethos?

KEN CUCCINELLI: They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.

ANDREA MITCHELL: Ken Cuccinelli, that top Trump immigration official, is coming under renewed fire today after rewriting Emma Lazarus’s iconic poem on the Statue of Liberty after announcing new regulations of course that will make it harder for low-income legal immigrants from getting into the U.S. or staying here if they rely on taxpayer-funded assistance programs.

Well, last night, Cuccinelli was not backing down, he was doubling down. Even making it more obvious that this new rule is targeting Hispanics.  

CUCCINELLI [CNN]: That poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies, where people were considered “wretched” if they weren’t in the right class.

MITCHELL: Really? Let’s get the Inside Scoop from Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and an MSNBC political contributor. Jonathan Lemire, White House reporter for the Associated Press and MSNBC political analyst, and back with us, NBC’s White House correspondent Kristen Welker.

Yamiche, first to you. Ken Cuccinelli’s extraordinary rewrite of Emma Lazarus and then doubling down to say, “Well, in Europe, the huddled masses breathing – yearning to breathe free were from a class-based society, which makes it okay to let them in.” I mean, I’m trying to get my head around all of this. Let me get your take.

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: This is really the administration making very clear who they want to be immigrants in this country. The President has said he doesn’t want people from s-hole countries coming here, he’s also said that he prefers people from Norway rather than people from Africa. And then two years ago, Stephen Miller, when he was asked about the poem on the Statue of Liberty, used a popular white supremacist talking point, which was that the poem was added later, after the statue was built.

So we now have Ken Cuccinelli making it very clear that he does not want to have people using these programs that are really bridges to the American dream coming to the United States. I know so many immigrants who have told me personally over the last couple days that they used food stamps or housing assistance on their way to getting professional degrees. And now they’re productive citizens who own homes, who have children who are going to college here. So I think it’s really, in some ways, against the American values. And there are a lot of people who are deeply offended about what Ken Cuccinelli is saying.

MITCHELL: Kristen Welker, does the White House have any – is there any pause about this? Because we know that the President really doubled down on the Mississippi raids last week when he said in answer to you it was a deterrent factor. But this is making it so clear that it is anti-Hispanic – the Green Card rule I mean.

WELKER: Well, I reached out to a number of White House officials – absolutely – and I’ve reached out to a number of White House officials, Andrea. No response. Which tells me they are trying to determine exactly how to respond to this. There’s no doubt it is prompting a sharp backlash among the President’s critics.

But look, it underscores, I think, something that this administration has said as a matter of public policy for quite some time, which is that they want a more merit-based system. And it does underscore what Yamiche said, those private comments that President Trump made that he wants fewer immigrants from quote, unquote, “s-hole countries.”

So the question is, politically speaking, what is the impact here? The President heading into a reelection campaign, he knows all of this energizes his base. I think that’s why you’re seeing him double down, telling me that those Mississippi raids were a deterrent. Of course his acting DHS secretary out over the weekend doubling down, digging in as well during that interview with Chuck Todd. Although he did acknowledge the timing of those raids were unfortunate.

So this is something that energizes the President’s base, but how does it play, for example, Andrea, in the suburbs? And we know that the Republican Party quite worried about their prospects in the suburbs as they head into 2020.

MITCHELL: Indeed.  

(...)

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