Donald Trump and the fiction that “women are raped at levels that nobody’s ever seen before” along the path of the migrant march from Honduras

Remember how, a few days ago, our president, after having watched a segment on Fox News about how a dangerous “caravan” of immigrants was making its way to our border from Latin America, took to Twitter to say that we had no choice to pass hardline immigration legislation. Well, in spite of having been informed that this so-called “caravan” is actually more of a civil rights march undertaken by families attempting to flee the violence and corruption of Honduras, Donald Trump today doubled down on the racist rhetoric, spinning a narrative about lawlessness and rape along the path of this march.

“I used the word rape – and yesterday it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody’s ever seen before,” our President said to a crowd in West Virginia today. “They don’t want to mention that.”

When asked whether or not women on the march are being “raped at levels that nobody’s ever seen before,” Adolfo Flores, a national security and immigration correspondent for BuzzFeed News, replied that, in the 12 days he’s been traveling with the marchers, he hasn’t seen any evidence of rape at all. In fact, if you scroll through his Twitter posts, they appear to paint a portrait of a relatively peaceful procession, which, by the way, is already shrinking in size. [Flores indicates there are now 700 – 900 asylum seekers.] But, again, facts don’t seem to matter to our racist president, or the Republicans who allow him to remain in power. If they did, we wouldn’t be talking about building a wall and militarizing our border when we know that there are fewer illegal border crossings now than at any point over the past 40 years.

But it was never about the facts. If it were, we’d be having an adult conversation right now about the fact that things are so incredibly bad in Honduras right now that families are walking across the continent in hopes of finding refuge somewhere. We’d be praising these people for doing the right thing, and respectfully requesting asylum, instead of attempting to sneak over the border. But, instead, here we are, accusing them of rape and violence, with not a single shred of evidence to back that up. That’s the side down world we live in right now. A peaceful march becomes a caravan of rape unlike anything experienced in human history… And here’s the most insidious part. It’s calculated.

The corporatist Republicans in Congress know that anti-immigrant vitriol is all they have left. They tried to get Trump’s base excited about their tax cuts for the wealthy, but it just didn’t work. They saw that in Virginia, and Alabama, and Pennsylvania, where they lost what should have been easy to win races. I know it’s hard to believe, but apparently working class Americans don’t much like it when people cut taxes on the super-rich and then try to pay for it by gutting programs like Social Security and Medicare. But, it would seem, they do kind of like it when Trump talks about Hispanic street gangs and building his “big, beautiful wall.” And that was the lesson they took away from these last special elections. All they have left is fear and racism. And they know it. That’s all they can build a coalition around. There’s not one other thing in the current Republican platform that resonates with enough working class Americans to win a race anywhere, even in the deepest red of states. So they’ve decided to go all in. Sure, they may loose both houses of Congress anyway, and do irreparable harm to the very fabric of our civil society in the process, but they’ve decided, instead of just accepting the fact that their party is dead, they’d rather cast their lot with Trump, and see just how much farther they can travel on the fumes of hate.

Oh, and one more thing. Donald Trump didn’t just take the opportunity in West Virginia today to spread hateful lies about Honduran asylum seekers. He also doubled down on his now thoroughly debunked voter fraud lie, telling those assembled in West Virginia that “millions and millions of people” in California vote “many times” in elections. As for why he would say this, when we know for a certainty that, in the words of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, “voter fraud is vanishingly rare, and voter impersonation is nearly non-existent,” one can only guess. It could be that he truly believes, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, that he won the popular vote in 2016. Or, I suppose, it could be that he’s laying the groundwork for an authoritarian response to the 2020 election. Either way, the result is the same. By saying these things, he’s undermining the confidence of American voters in our underlying democratic institutions, and that’s incredibly dangerous. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that he’s doing this while, at the same time, refusing to take action against the very real threat posed by foreign actors, like Russia, who are increasingly attempting to meddle in our elections… This man, to put it bluntly, is a threat to our nation.

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  1. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Who voted for this guy?

  2. wobblie
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    This is the typical Republican play book. Does anyone remember Willie Horton. By the way MM you should spend some time evaluating the income levels (according to JH income is the defining characteristic of class) of Trump supporters. He got no more “working class” voters than Republican candidates before him. Since liberals seem to have forgotten the basic Republican playbook, I’m sure they have also forgotten the background to plight of the Honduran people.

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Wobblie— Am I incorrect in remembering that you insisted the Trump victory was about the neglected White Working Classs and not racism? Btw, many of us here have spoken about Willie Horton and the Lee Atwater playbook and how the Trump campaign was an extension of the same. I don’t think ‘liberals’ have ignored that at all. Where they have failed is in not seeing their own vulnerability to bias and the ways they play into the same narrative. But then radicals and leftists can be accused of the same, especially skewing to economic inequality as the central issue to be remedied and not understanding that white supremacy and the patriarchy must be addressed as well. Racism is our defining and most pervasive cultural disease. We still don’t want to talk about it except to blame others.

  4. wobblie
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Yes, JH you are wrong. I have consistently argued against the liberal meme that it was the “white working class” that elected the Trump. Rather I have argued that it was the fact that many folks, including thousands of blacks in Detroit, who did not go to the polls, along with Clinton deciding not to contest the election results, that caused the election of Trump.

  5. John Galt
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Whole families of dirty, dark skinned rapists, just waiting to pounce. The kids in Honduras go to rape school. They even have rape universities. It’s more rape than anyone in the universe has ever seen. And it’s coming for us.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Wobblie— yes, now I remember. Apologies for getting that wrong. I can’t argue with that perspective, though I don’t think contesting the results was going to change the outcome. Things were wonky to be sure but did not appear to be wonky favoring one side.

  7. Lynne
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I have just come to accept that we are a nation of really racist people and as much as it enrages me, Trump’s racism works with his base. they LOVE it that he is “taking a stand” against what many white people see as a real threat, i.e. brown people moving in. Heh. I was just watching an old episode of All if the Family last night that just really reminded me of our nation right now. It was the episode where the Jefferson’s move into the neighborhood. Well, that is what people still fear.

    Re: I have argued that it was the fact that many folks, including thousands of blacks in Detroit, who did not go to the polls

    wobblie, yeah a LOT of white people I know blame black people for not saving them which is kind of fucked up imho. Maybe the real blame goes to those who suppress the minority vote? I mean, do you know how much longer folks have to wait to vote in Detroit? At any rate, it feels like you are blaming people for a problem with the system.

  8. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    “Maybe the real blame goes to those who suppress the minority vote?”
    Please remember that Cambridge Analytica’s efforts included anti-Hillary posts targeting Detroit and Muskegon, among other heavily Black districts nation-wide.

    In reality, the Black voter levels did not dip considerably but returned to pre-Obama levels, which should have been expected.

  9. wobblie
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I blame Clinton for Clinton’s failures. The DNC enabled her shitty campaign and the result was Trump. It has been Clinton and her enablers who have been running around pointing the blame at first this group and then that group for her failure to get elected. And of course it was all the Russians fault. I do not believe in scape goating. The objective facts point to thousands (more than enough to change Michigan’s election) of votes in Detroit which were not counted. Clinton could have demanded a recount. She didn’t.

  10. Lynne
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Yeah. lots of guys like to blame Clinton for her “shitty campaign” but I have noticed that few of them blame Sanders for his. Also, there is a lot of ignoring of the other factors which were outside of her control which absolutely contributed to her loss. But whatever. She isn’t running again so it doesn’t matter going forward. What does matter is getting out the vote in November.

  11. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    King Sanders can do no wrong in the minds of his supporters, thinking which continues to this day.

    It was unfortunate. A bit more of treating him like a real candidate and scrutiny from his base might have gone a long way toward making him get his policy game on.

  12. anonymous
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Two things to consider.

    1. Sanders did not run in the general election. He was not a spoiler like Jill Stein.

    2. Sanders campaigned for Clinton in Michigan.

  13. Lynne
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    1. True. And I have a lot of respect for his decision not to be a spoiler. I have a whole LOT of other issues with him though but unless he runs again, they are not relevant. It is just that the bias of some people is made obvious when they spin a story about how Clinton lost because if she was a bad person who ran a bad campaign but apparently Sanders lost the primary because Clinton is a bad person who “rigged” things. To me it illustrates the bias against Clinton very well.

    2. Did he? I didn’t notice.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Wow. That’s a very selective two things to cherry pick for us to consider. He campaigned listlessly for HRC and mostly continued to promote himself and his supposed revolution. He also continued to say and do things to undermine her legitimacy. But more to the point, when his campaign turned sour and self righteous in NY, he undermined faith in journalism, the electoral process, and the party in order to energize his campaign. He also went heavy on the protectionist angle, which was his only clear distinction from HRC policy-wise. His playbook in this regard was a lot like Trump’s. And HRC knew she couldn’t actively critique him. As IL stated, this is all on his supporters as much as the Sanders campaign. Every candidate should be properly vetted and none should be protected from criticism by a madding crowd.
    It would only have been good for his campaign and the country had they let go the cult of personality.

    Maybe post Trump we will be smarter about how populist campaigns can be corrupted.

  15. Posted April 6, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    While I’m not as anti-Sanders as many on this site, I’d be happy if he simply disappeared from public life, or at least presidential politics. It’s not that I don’t think his ideas are worth hearing. I just think that his presence is a distraction, as we’re seeing in this thread. In my opinion, we should be single-minded in getting Trump and the Republicans out of power, and it bothers me when, instead, I see us re-fighting the fights of 2016. Granted, there are lessons to be learned, but our president just told us that our elections are being stolen in California, and that people seeing asylum on humanitarian grounds are really coming to rape and murder us. This, if I didn’t make it clear, is deadly serious stuff, and we need to stop it while we still can. And maybe the rest of you can multitask, and talk about Clinton and Sanders while also fighting Trump, but I just want to move on. I want to support good candidates, retake Congress, banish the corrupt, and restore the rule of law. And I don’t see how spending a minute talking about Clinton and Sanders helps that. With that said, I do think we should, at least for the time being, do whatever we can to discourage third parties on the left, given what we saw in 2016. Is it anti-democratic when, in states like Montana, we’re seeing people organize to keep the Green Party off of 2018 ballots? Maybe. To be truthful, though, I don’t care about taking s step down the slippery slope if it’s our best chance of stopping Trumpism. We cannot count on the Republican Party to do the right thing. They’ve shown us that they’re unable to. We have to stop this, and stop this now. We need to focus and fight like hell for every seat that’s open. We need to end this chapter of American history, and do so decisively.

  16. Lynne
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    My hope is that we can have a primary season with a wide range of candidates which do not include Clinton or Sanders. I also hope that we can agree that there is strength in agreeing to vote for the winner of that primary, even if we consider the person less than perfect or even the lesser of two evils.

    I also hope we can agree that forming an opposition congress is an important step to minimizing the damage and also putting a Democratic president if one should be elected in 2020 in a good position to undo damage.

    And while we are at it, we have to get out and vote in state and local elections too.

  17. Posted April 6, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. On every point.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Understanding parallels between the Sanders and Trump campaigns and how people on all sides are vulnerable to misinformation is critical to defeating Trumpism. Understanding how wholesale attacks on institutions (however flawed) critical to our democracy can lead to totalitarian creep is also critical to defeating Trumpism.
    This is not about re-litigating the election but about understanding how we got here.
    Outrage is not as useful as critical self reflection in defeating Trumpism. Outrage energized, but outrage without self-scrutiny is a vulnerability not an asset.
    We need to be less stupid, not more angry.

  19. wobblie
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    False equivalency the refuge of those who have no real argument. Lynn will you support Sanders if he is the Democratic nominee? But more closer in time, are you folks going to be supporting another “moderate” Republican for Governor if a Sanders like gets the Democratic nomination for Governor? Virg was just sold down the river by so many of the “right” thinking Democrats in this state. Probably set the stage for Trump’s victory two years later. Folks rail against “leftest” Democrats while ignoring how “right thinking” Democrats consistently vote Republican in state elections. But hey its Jill Stein’s fault, its Susan Sanradon’s fault, hey its the Russian’s fault.

  20. wobblie
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting article on our the state election.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The idea that moderate/establishment Dems threw the governor’s race to Snyder is interesting. (Does anyone have any data on that?) But I don’t see how someone, complaining of false equivalencies, can argue that the Trump election in MI or nationwide is due to moderate/establishment Dems voting Trump. That’s not what the data indicates.

    As for whether I would vote for Bernie in the unlikely event that he was the 2020 Dem presidential candidate– of course. Lynne already voted for him once. You falsely position Lynne and me as moderate/establishment Dems just because we sometimes criticize leftist positions and approach (though differently). We also criticize right and center positions and approach. Anyone who is paying attention would see we are both, in our own way, much farther left than most Americans, even most Dems, on most positions. This push to deride any differing opinion as anti-progressive is not a good look and a big chunk of the problem with Bernie’s campaign…

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I have not taken a position on the MI governor’s race, but have been approached by former Berners to support a few candidates, which is good. I’m glad the pool of lefty candidates is broad enough to make people look deeper at policy. I don’t think Thanedar has a chance, but his willingness to take any position that pleases the party base crowd and his substantial war chest to buy the election are very Trumpian. I appreciate that Intercept article, which pains me, because I hate the Intercept generally speaking.

  23. Demetrius
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I agree that spending too much time rehashing the 2016 election is potentially unhealthy, and unproductive.

    On the other hand – it mainstream Democrats continue to be unable, or unwilling, to acknowledge past mistakes, how can anyone have confidence in their ability to lead a credible opposition to Trump?

    Although I was a Bernie supporter, I think it is time for him to resign from national politics. I think that’s true of Hillary, as well. And, for that matter, I’d like to see Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer step down from leadership, too.

    We’re in a new era, with new challenges – and I think “the left” desperately needs some new leaders, and some new ideas.

  24. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    “will you support Sanders if he is the Democratic nominee?”

    I would not vote for him in the primaries. I would vote for him in the general but I wouldn’t like it.

    As aside, but right now, he is 76 years old.

  25. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    It appears that the Mr. Warlord is not alone

  26. Demetrius
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Matt Taibi/Rolling Stone: Is the Two-Party System Doomed?

    A new study shows us what observation should already have made clear: a messy restructuring of America’s political parties is coming

  27. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Having lived in several places with multiparty systems, I only have one thing to say…

    Be very careful what you wish for.

  28. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I agree whole-heartedly that the Dem party needs to move forward past both the HRC and Sanders models and into something that feels truly forward thinking and embracing and valuing of multiple perspectives. That is a call for proper liberal progressive politics, not dogmatism or radicalism, and definitely not old school leftist bullshit. It all seems so old. Sanders and HRC were fucking old. Let’s move the ball forward. I actually hear a diversity of voices on the left among Millenials. Bernie did not capture them all and white college debt-burdened Millenials do not speak for all of them; purity-testing socialist Millenials don’t speak for all of them. I’m happy to hand the mantle to them, assuming they allow all voices to come forward. That can happen in a 2 party or multi-party system. The inevitable result of any of those is the need to compromise. You don’t ever get radical solutions from a democracy. But radical thinking and activism move Democracy towards progress. By the time progress happens in a democracy it doesn’t seem radical anymore. People see it as inevitable. Many can’t believe it isn’t already in place. Then the radicals will be dissatisfied with that change and ask for more. And call everyone else for the status quo, even as they change their perspectives. And so it goes.

  29. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Wow, IL. Everyone here who argued Hyborian Warlord should click through on that link. I don’t know if I’m more relieved or disturbed to know he is so not alone. I figured he wasn’t coming up with that complex narrative on his own. Unless HW is Q???
    Also, what genius thought it was a great idea to give Roseanne Barr a renewed forum on TV?

  30. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    After further consideration, I think Millennials are more akin to Boomers and not very likely to lead the transformative change, but they will likely go along with it. They are far too focused on their own supposed leadership status to be truly inclusive of multiple viewpoints. It’s the generation behind them, represented well by the Parkland kids, who are clearly active listeners as well as speakers, in whom I place my faith. Let’s hope they vote in greater numbers than Millennials.

  31. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The Mr. Warlord’s ideas were quite bizarre (what kind of chump wants to be a cheerleader for a politician after s/he has been voted into office?), but more disturbing than his ideas were the fact that he is apparently not alone.

  32. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    IL– I admit to feeling moderately redeemed that I was arguing against a larger army than a solitary warlord in his imaginary private universe. Seems like a better use of my time. I suspected he was not alone. That’s been validated, but you are right, it’s also more disturbing. On the other hand, as you also pointed up, the narrative is so spun out with anticipated outcomes, that it should eventually fall apart under the weight of its own massive assumptions.

    The distinction I noted between HW and Qanon and crew was the perspective on Mueller. HW was much more suspicious of ‘the deep state’ agencies and put his faith in the Justice Department investigation into HRC and the Mueller investigation led by Michael Horowitz. This could be a failure of reporting on the part of the NYT or just a variation on the theme. I don’t know that it matters in the long run.

  33. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Googling Horowitz and #Qanon led to a lot of reddit etc arguments about whether he is a “White hat” or a “Blackhat.” His report is cited in taking down McCabe for leaking. They said it would be released a month ago, but as far as I can tell it hasn’t, or else it just went out with a whimper like the FISA memos. It seems having not produced the expected explosive mind-shift revelations, #Qanon followers are turning on Horowitz as part of the deep state apparatus. “He isnt just a Black hat; add three more black hats on top of the first.” As a side note, these people can barely articulate a sentence. They make Bannon look like a genius leading fools over the edge of the cliff, which may not be far off.

  34. Jean Henry
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Horowitz report still forthcoming. McCabe piece of it was released early in time for his firing in advance of retirement… which does not seem especially independent to me. Seems like Horowitz is doing Sessions bidding. We’ll see.

  35. Lynne
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Lynn will you support Sanders if he is the Democratic nominee?

    Yes. I probably would also donate money to his campaign and volunteer. I will not vote for him in the primary though.

  36. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Everyone who voted for this tool should be publicly shamed for the rest of their lives.

  37. iRobert
    Posted April 9, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I like to see Tulsi Gabbard as the Dems nominee in 2020.

  38. stupid hick
    Posted April 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    “Yes. I probably would also donate money to his campaign and volunteer. I will not vote for him in the primary though.”

    Of course not, because you will be voting in the Republican primary, right? Which is the only way to change the Republicans. Bravo Lynne. Mark Maynard would be wise to use his Ypsi cred to encourage others to do the same.

  39. Lynne
    Posted April 9, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    stupid hick, It depends on who is running, but yes I very well may cross over and vote in the Republican primary. I have done it before* and I regret not doing it in 2016,

    *I voted for McCain in 2000 and fwiw, I heard a rumor afterwards that Gov Engler was in the running to be selected as Bush’s running mate for VP but was not chosen because Michigan went to McCain.

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