I inadvertently stumbled on the television show known as “The View” the other day. I am clearly not the target audience of “The View,” so I generally don’t watch it.
During the three minutes I watched, host Whoopi Goldberg quoted candidate Donald Trump as saying that all Mexicans are murderers and rapists. Trump says a lot of intemperate things, of course, and would benefit greatly from a lengthy bout of laryngitis, but I was remembering the speech in question, and I didn’t remember it that way, so I looked it up.
It turns out that what “The Donald” said was this: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
So, what he said isn’t what Whoopi said he said. It was not very kind, nor was it diplomatic. But he didn’t say anything about “all Mexicans.”
Just for the sake of clarity, let’s break down what he said. First, he asserts that Mexico is sending people. While it is true that the Mexican government has supported the emigration of people from there to here, partly because of the many millions of dollars that those emigrants send back to their relatives in Mexico, it isn’t officially “sending” anyone.
Are the Mexicans who come here Mexico’s best people? Good question. By definition they can be considered law breakers, but our country’s immigration policies have not been strong, and many Mexicans have taken advantage to find a better life.
The people who come over the border can also be said to be motivated, risk-takers, driven, and entrepreneurial. Those are good things. But, some of them are also motivated by the criminal gains they can make, or by gaming the system.
And, unlike legal immigrants, people coming over our southern border aren’t vetted for criminal records. So, yes, some are bringing drugs and crime. And, if you read the paper you’ll know that some are rapists and murderers.
Trump’s biggest error was in saying that he assumes “some” are good people. He might better have said that while “most” are good people, it is probably not the wealthy or well- educated Mexicans who are escaping Mexico, and some are dangerous criminals.
So, Trump said what he said, for better or worse. Whoopi and others mis-remember his quote as being much more extreme than it was in reality. I don’t think that helps anything.