Not surprisingly, the panel on Monday’s edition of Deadline: White House did not react favorably to “a new rule announced by the Trump administration” that “makes it harder for low-income legal immigrants who receive food stamps or other government assistance to stay in this country.” According to one member of the panel, this new policy constitutes “white nationalism.”
The award for the most outrageous analysis went to Jason Johnson of The Root, who described the new rule as “what white nationalism looks like in policy.” After explaining that “white nationalism is a belief that America is a white, Christian, straight country and if you’re not a white straight Christian, they don’t want you here,” Johnson highlighted what he saw as examples of white nationalist policies put into practice by the Trump administration, specifically “terrifying people with sort of aggressive, drastic raids by ICE” and “policies created by Stephen Miller to make it harder and harder...for people to get here.”
Johnson’s condescending analysis sounds strikingly similar to that of CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta, who accused The Trump administration of “trying to engineer the racial and ethnic flow of people into this country.” Acosta’s comment came as part of an exchange with White House adviser Stephen Miller, who eviscerated Acosta for his “cosmopolitan bias” after he suggested that only people from Great Britain and Australia can speak English.
Johnson failed to note that the new rule announced by the Trump administration did not mention race at all; meaning that Johnson merely assumed that all low-income legal immigrants who receive government benefits are minorities and/or all minority immigrants receive government benefits. It looks like Johnson has a “cosmopolitan bias” as well.
Meanwhile, “Republican” Elise Jordan complained that the Trump administration has “defiled the Statue of Liberty in a pretty extreme way” and described the fact that “we aren’t bringing in refugees anymore” as “a moral stain on America” while MSNBC Political Analyst Jonathan Lemire tried to paint the Trump administration’s implementation of the rule as a strategy to appeal to his racist base:
They think that’s, again, what’s going to resonate with their voters, those sort of white working class...who feel threatened by immigrants, who feel like they’ve taken my jobs, or...my children now go to a school where Spanish is spoken almost as much as English. Things like that are resonating with their voters in a...negative way.
Fill-in host Chris Jansing closed the segment by pointing out the findings of an Associated Press study. According to Jansing, “the people exactly in this category that are being targeted in fact use benefits like Medicaid, food aid, S.S.I. at a lower rate than low-income, native…born Americans.” Well, if that’s the case, then Jansing and her panel got themselves bent out of shape for no reason at all.
This segment on MSNBC came less than a week after The Hill’s Joe Concha argued that the network hit rock bottom by suggesting that President Trump was sending a dog-whistle to Neo-Nazis. It looks like smearing President Trump’s policies as white supremacy and/or white nationalism has become standard operating procedure at 30 Rock.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s edition of Deadline: White House is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Deadline: White House
CHRIS JANSING: Come here legally. We want immigrants, the President says. But a new rule announced by the Trump administration earlier today makes it harder for low-income legal immigrants who receive food stamps or other government assistance to stay in this country. NBC News reporting “the rule, which has been in the works since last year, would favor wealthier applicants in the American immigration system, and could dramatically reshape the nation’s immigration system, according to the Migration Policy Institute, an immigration think tank.” The table is back. In fact, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center said “this news is a cruel new step toward weaponizing programs that are intended to help people by making them, instead, a means of separating families and sending immigrants and communities of color one message: you are not welcome here.”
JASON JOHNSON: This is what white nationalism looks like in policy. I mean, I mean, I have been saying this all along, that…that white nationalism is a belief America is a white Christian straight country and if you’re not a white straight Christian, then they don’t want you here and whether that is done by terrifying people with sort of aggressive, drastic raids by ICE, whether that’s by policies created by Stephen Miller to make it harder and harder…for difficult…for people to get here, they want to reshape and change the demographics of the United States of America and this is how they’re going to do it.
JANSING: And Ken Cuccinelli was asked about “bring me your…give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and…and his answer was “I’m not prepared to take anything down from the Statue of Liberty.”
ELISE JORDAN: I think they’ve already defiled the Statue of Liberty in a pretty extreme way, starting from the executive order that Donald Trump attempted to ban travelers from certain Muslim nations. And we’ve seen this sustained effort by the Trump administration to essentially stop immigration. We aren’t bringing in refugees anymore. It’s a stain, a moral stain on America that we…there is a huge refugee crisis in the world right now and that we are literally just saying like no, not us. When previously, the whole point of America was that we’re a place that welcomed those who wanted to contribute and wanted a chance at…
JANSING: That is…
JORDAN: …a better life.
JANSING: …the basis of the American dream. Yamiche Alcindor tweeted this today: “the question remains, what does this administration say to many using public benefits as a bridge to the American dream including in pursuit of professional degrees and technical trainings as they get on their feet?” And if I can go back to El Paso, how many times do you hear a 16-year-old girl, like, emotionally talking with love about her mother? In this case, it was a mom who had come from Mexico with no language skills who got her GED and then got her degree, and is helping to support their family. Isn’t that what the American dream is? It’s not just somebody who comes over because they want to go and get their Ph.D. at an ivy league university.
JONATHAN LEMIRE: Right. And that’s how…that’s what it always has been. And from this administration, it’s not just about curtailing illegal immigration, as they put it, it’s about really limiting legal immigration. And…and they say they want to switch to a more merit-based system. That’s how they…that’s how they’re framing this going forward but it’s also just about dramatically cutting the numbers overall; that they feel like, that this is…that they feel like that’s good policy but also the sense that that’s good politics. They think that that’s, again, what’s going to resonate with their voters, those…those sort of white, working class voters, whether they’re in the rust belt or not, who feel threatened by immigrants, who feel like they’ve taken my jobs or my, you know, my children now go to a school where Spanish is spoken almost as much as English. And things like that are resonating with their voters in a negative…in a negative way and this administration is going to lean on that time and time again. They’ve shown no signs of backing off.
JANSING: And by the way, The Associated Press did a review of the census and it showed that the people exactly in this category that are being targeted in fact use benefits like Medicaid, food aid, S.S.I. at a lower rate than low-income, native…
JANSING: …born adults.