President Donald Trump ignited yet another firestorm this week after he referred to Haiti and certain African and Central American nations as “shithole countries” during an immigration reform meeting at the White House.
Even more baffling was U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s defense of the president. Paul argued on Meet the Press that Trump was not a racist and his insulting comments were an example of “Queens saltiness,” insinuating that making racist comments stemmed from his upbringing in the borough. Councilman Barry Grodenchik, perhaps, said it best when he noted on Twitter that the only thing Paul knows about Queens is that “it’s in New York City and has two airports.”
Queens is the most diverse county on the planet. A total of 130 languages are spoken in the borough and immigrants from 120 nations reside here. Dismissing entire nations as “shitholes” is not what Queens is all about.
Trump may originally hail from Queens, but he clearly didn’t glean much from the experience. Ironically, in his defense of the president, Paul made exactly the same faux pas as the president by stereotyping an entire population of people—in this case, Queens—and didn’t appear to have any clue as to what the borough is all about.
Perhaps, Paul has been watching too many reruns of All in the Family. Archie Bunker may have once been the face of Queens on TV—but that was during the 1970s. If anyone is currently displaying the Bunker mentality, it’s the president and Republican Party.
We applaud those members of Congress who are speaking out against Trump’s racist remarks, but we are saddened that the greater majority of the Republican Party in both houses have cowered under this president’s threats to shame them if they dare speak their conscience.
Currently, in America, there are few leaders who are profiles in courage and, as a result, the country is losing respect abroad and our democracy is being tarnished at home.