• author
    • Kelvin Wade

    • January 15, 2018 in Columnists

    Shitholes and profiles in cowardice

    “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

    This past week has made it crystal clear that on this Martin Luther King Jr. Day we live in a nation of cowards. It was dramatized by the aftermath of the Oval Office meeting on DACA when Donald Trump ranted about shipping Haitian immigrants back and referred to African nations as “shithole countries.” And he asked why we couldn’t have more immigrants from Norway. That is a key point. Trump’s defenders focus on the phrase “shithole countries” to excuse this as folks being sensitive to his profanity. But this isn’t about profanity. It isn’t about wanting better educated or skilled immigrants. It’s the fact that Trump contrasted predominantly black immigrants from “shithole countries” as undesirable and welcomed immigrants from predominantly white Norway. That’s the issue. That’s what makes it a racist comment. It follows other racist comments and actions by Donald Trump.

    In the aftermath, it’s the occupants in the room, senators Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, David Perdue, Dick Durbin and representatives Bob Goodlatte, Kevin McCarthy and Mario Diaz-Balart as well as the reaction of other top lawmakers confronted with the comments where the nation has been sadly let down.

    While I’m glad Sen. Durbin came out and told us what happened in that room it would’ve been better if he’d stood up to Trump in the moment as well. It would have been bolder if Durbin held a press conference immediately after leaving the meeting. But at least Dick Durbin told us unequivocally what happened during that meeting.

    And then we saw Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) put out a joint statement saying, “We do not recall the president saying those comments specifically…” and then they go on to mention what Trump was trying to say. This was less than 24 hours earlier and they can’t remember?

    Then both of them appeared on Sunday morning political shows and they both lied. Perdue told ABC’s This Week, “I’m telling you he did not use that word, George. And I’m telling you it’s a gross misrepresentation. How many times do you want me to say that?” Cotton told CBS’ Face the Nation, “John, I didn’t hear that word either.” And he said Sen. Dick Durbin had a history of lying about White House meetings.

    So the day after the meeting they didn’t recall Trump making any such statements and then a couple of days later they’re adamant Trump didn’t make the statement. Bullshit.

    Tom Cotton has two children under the age of three. I wonder if he’s going to feel proud when they grow up and see the tape of him lying to the nation to cover a morally bankrupt man supremely unqualified to occupy the office he holds. Is that the man he’s proud to be?

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) put out a statement that said he “said his piece” to Trump during the meeting. He also told his colleague, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), that the reported remarks were “basically accurate.” And even after he watched his colleagues lie on the Sunday shows, he said, “My memory hasn’t evolved. I know what was said and I know what I said.” I admire the fact that, unlike his nutless colleagues, Graham had the testicular fortitude to stand up to Trump at the time and give him a piece of his mind. But why not stand beside your colleague Dick Durbin and back him up? Why not publicly confirm and plainly say that Durbin is telling the truth and Trump, Cotton and Perdue are lying? This is no time to be cute and cryptic. This is a time for bold assertion of the truth. And for that, Graham demonstrates that he too is a profile in cowardice.

    Sen. Kevin McCarthy was also in the room when Trump made his racist remarks. He’s added nothing to the conversation. In fact, he went to dinner at Mar a Lago two nights later and stood mute next to Donald Trump as Trump said, “Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments? They weren’t made.” That was McCarthy’s chance to step in and stand up for truth. It was a chance for McCarthy to demonstrate character. But perhaps McCarthy mortgaged his integrity long ago so covering up the racist comments of a person he slavishly follows doesn’t even deliver the slightest pang of conscience.

    As for Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Roanoke) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami) where are they on this? Both heard what was said in that meeting and both have remained silent. If personal integrity wasn’t enough to stir Goodlatte to speak out, he’s already said he’s leaving office after this year so why wouldn’t that have freed him to speak? Perhaps Trump just said what Goodlatte was thinking. And with Mario Diaz-Balart’s silence, should we assume that since he’s Cuban-American and that Cuban immigrants receive preferential treatment that immigrants from no other country enjoy that he simply doesn’t care about what he heard?

    Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) wasn’t in the meeting but has stated that right after the meeting he was told about Trump’s racist remarks by people who were in the room (and before the news hit the press.) Flake hasn’t identified who told him about the remarks and he should. He should at least tell us if those sources were people denying it now.

    Also, it was reported that Trump phoned friends the night of the meeting to see how his remarks were playing with his base. Conservative writer Erick Erickson tweeted, “It’s weird that people in the room don’t remember Trump using that word when Trump himself was calling friends to brag about it afterwards. I spoke to one of those friends. The President thought it would play well with his base.”

    Additional evidence that the comments and sentiment was made is simply the fact that neither Trump nor the White House denied the reports when the story broke. If he didn’t say it, Trump would’ve taken to Twitter to deny it. He didn’t. He said it and he was busy checking to see how it played, as Erickson told us.

    Since the story leaked we’ve continued to see profiles in cowardice in the reactions of other leaders. When House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked about Donald Trump’s shithole comment he did that thing where he looks down and hems and haws like he’s trying to check and see if he still has any testicles left and he said it was “unfortunate” and “unhelpful.” Then he launched into a story about his family’s journey from Ireland and I wish the reporter had stopped him right there and said, “Paul, nobody cares.” You know what’s unfortunate and unhelpful, Paul? You. You say the same spineless mealy mouthed crap. You need to retire. Go home and disappoint your wife instead of continuing to disappoint the nation.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has ducked inside his shell in fear of confronting the latest outburst of racial bigotry from Donald Trump. Minorities are often the quickest to respond to racist comments and/or actions regardless if they’re the minority affected because they realize that they could be next. McConnell is married to a Chinese-American woman and you’d think that any form of racial bigotry would affect him on a deep level. Obviously you thought wrong. McConnell has proven repeatedly that, though his backbone is for rent, it’s not for rent to minorities.

    To see HUD Secretary and Trump cabinet token Ben Carson appearing with Donald Trump the next day during a Martin Luther King Jr. proclamation was both typical, disheartening and nauseating. Carson, the former brilliant neurosurgeon, has been reduced to a background figure dragged out to defend Trump from claims of racial bigotry. He even appears to relish this role, the 2018 version of a house nigger. Even after Trump labeled him “pathological” during the 2016 Republican presidential primary and compared him to a child molester, no task is too demeaning for Ben Carson. A self-respecting African-American would’ve resigned from Trump’s cabinet after Charlottesville but not Carson, who has unsurprisingly had nothing to say about Trump’s latest outrage.

    Why aren’t Republicans of conscience standing up and speaking out? Why have so many found themselves eunuchs in the age of Trump? Why is fear of Donald Trump’s base more motivating than integrity, justice, and righteousness? You don’t get to invoke the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. if in your daily political life you find yourself stepping on the neck of truth and pissing on the body of justice. Wrong is still wrong and right is still right in America. If Martin Luther King Jr. were here, even at age 89, he would tell you that himself as he led the resistance to Trumpism.

    There will be a price to pay for Republicans who assist Donald Trump in murdering the truth. Fiat justitia rut caelum! Let justice be done though the heavens fall!

      • Jim DeKloe

      • January 15, 2018 at 5:57 pm
      • Reply

      Wow. Finally an opinion column with guts. Well done

        • Kelvin

        • January 16, 2018 at 9:20 am
        • Reply

        Thank you! I just let everything out. I’m no snowflake. I’m a blizzard. I’m sick of this “President” and his apologists,k

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • January 15, 2018 at 6:41 pm
      • Reply

      I just saw that MLK quote “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”, today. Your column is absolutely perfect! What a bunch of spineless shitholes we have in Congress. The swamp only got larger.

        • Kelvin

        • January 16, 2018 at 9:22 am
        • Reply

        That’s been one of the most disappointing aspects of Trumpism. I expect Trump to lie and basically be a horrible person. But so many have placed him before the country. Shitholes, definitely.

      • Terri Connett

      • January 30, 2018 at 10:26 am
      • Reply

      OMG this is a great piece. I laughed out loud with the “Ryan go home and disappoint your wife” comment. You are spot on, as usual, Kelvin. The GOP has blood on their hands, on their wherever . . .

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