by Kate Harveston
Just when you thought… ok well let's be honest, no one is surprised that Donald Trump just called several countries "shitholes" in a private meeting with several members of Congress. It's about as surprising as the fact that our Twitter-happy president took to social media to try and rewrite history the next day.
But it looks like this time around, people aren’t buying it, and that brings to light a question that puts President Trump on the spot. For a man who promised to make America great again, can he not see how his own actions are turning our country into a shithole from the global perspective?
Trump Faces Criticism from all Corners
Like many of Trump’s bumbles — foolish acts that would have struck a nerve had any other president committed them, but that we tolerate from Trump because we’ve become desensitized to his acting like a blazer-clad Rodney Dangerfield with the power to dematerialize nations at the push of a big red button — there is no precedent for this.
Taken at face value, Trump doesn’t appear to have singled out these countries based on any special criteria other than being predominantly non-white. It’s another strike against a president who claims not to have a racist agenda but continues to push policy that is consistent with white nationalist groups and defend their acts with paltry excuses.
In a country that is founded on the idea of acceptance for people of all nations, the backlash has been swift. GOP representative Mia Love, a woman of Hattian descent, has already responded with a statement calling the president’s slur “unkind, divisive and elitist.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan even stepped forward in a break from his recently spineless behavior as he attempts to strike a balance between coddling Trump and appeasing Americans. Ryan made an example of his own family’s immigration from Ireland as the reason that we need to be accepting of people from other nations.
Criteria for Being a “Shithole”
The Irish, however, are white. So are Norwegians, a group that Trump encouraged to immigrate to the United States. Except, it’s questionable whether people living in an isolated Nordic country that has managed to remain relatively uninvolved in global politics would want to come to a place like the United States. A place that has been transformed from international role model to world-policing asshole as many see it.
It is in these Nordic countries, places that see very little immigration from people of non-white heritage, that white nationalism actually has the safest haven to develop. Norway's own Progressive Party, a group, motivated by ideals of a homeland for Nordic natives, and exclusive rights solely for this group, is not unlike the Finnish Finn party, which is recognized as one of the most notable and developed examples of white nationalism on the planet.
If Trump’s remarks were intended to assert that these countries are poor, it seems a little hypocritical. After all, Nigeria and many African nations enjoy a comparatively high income-per-capita thanks to oil revenue and agriculture. Recently, Nigeria and South Africa were both officially declared out of recession, and are paving the way for African nations to enter the global trade market, where they might unlock the potential to grow successfully.
Trump’s Policies Make His Comments Hypocritical
At a time when other nations are following the example set by Barrack Obama’s administration and implementing progressive new policies, Trump is fighting to return us to hyper-conservative, 1950s rhetoric defined by misogyny and racism.
Trump's foreign policy, which is precisely what these comments speak to, has been divisive and elitist just as representative Love said, and that has caused unrest in minority groups. That, however, is only one of the ways Trump is disenfranchising this country.
His tax policies, billed as helping the middle class, do nothing but add to the string of thinly-veiled attacks on the foundation of the middle class. Wage increases are still not keeping up with the cost of living, America's youth cannot pay off their college debt and put away the money that fifty years ago, would have bought them a home, and the fight for affordable healthcare has become a high-profile pissing match at a national level.
President Trump has been criticized for his inability to "take a joke." This time around, it will be more than jokes that Trump faces in response to his idiotic behavior. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones — the Donald should expect a whole lot of slings aimed in his direction for the foreseeable future, but as Americans, it is still us who will suffer the bruises.