Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bernie Sanders: Why didn't Trump invite the families affected by the South Carolina shootings?

Picture: AFP AND MANDEL NGAN /GETTY

Donald Trump’s first address to Congress was a mixed bag. The president shied away from his typical fiery anti-immigration rhetoric and attempted a more inclusive tone.

Despite his apparent reserved demeanour critics have been pointing out that his policies (tax cuts for the middle class and an overhaul of healthcare and immigration reform) remain extreme.

The President stuck to his guns on the subject of domestic security and announced plans to form a new agency to publish a regular list of crimes committed by immigrants.

During the the State of the Union, he invited Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver – widows of the Californian officers who were shot by a Mexican in 2014, and Jamiel Shaw Sr, the father of a teen killed by a gang member who was in the US illegally.

Senator Bernie Sanders fiercely opposed Trump’s decision to do so.

In a Facebook post before the event, he accused the president of “stirring up fear and hatred against immigrants and trying to divide [the] nation”.

Why didn't Trump invite the family of Srinvas Kuchibhotla, the immigrant from India, who was recently shot down in cold blood by a white, native born American? Didn't his life count?

Why didn't he invite the families of the black parishioners shot down in a church in South Carolina by racist Dylan Roof? Weren't their lives important?

To the cries of his opponents, the president will set up an organisation to help Americans who have been the victims of crime by immigrants.

I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims. The office is called VOICE — Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.

In fact, research suggests that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than native born Americans.

In a meeting with a group of state attorney generals, Trump called the recent pattern of anti-Semitic crime - like the defacement of tombstones in Jewish cemeteries - "reprehensible," and then implied that the Jewish community might be committing acts of anti-Semitism to make him look bad.

The president made no mention of the documented rise in hate crime against Muslims. 

According to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Centre, the number of hate groups specifically targeting Muslims has almost tripled. Researchers blamed the rise of Donald Trump. 

Sanders concluded:

Trump, any murder is a tragedy. Don't use these tragedies to stir up divisions by race and nationality.



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