This week started out like most weeks for Donald Trump: a Monday morning spent sending a flurry of unhinged tweets then a quick break to indulge in some offline racism. Addressing reporters on the White House lawn before heading to a campaign rally, Trump said he was keeping a close eye on the situation in the Bahamas. Particularly since the people fleeing the grim aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and trying to come to America might be dangerous drug dealers. Presumably because they are black.
“The Bahamas had some tremendous problems with people going to the Bahamas that weren’t supposed to be there,” Trump said. “I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members and some very, very bad drug dealers.”
Like most things Trump says, this statement is very, very removed from reality. But who needs facts when you can appeal to racist feelings? Trump’s smearing of Hurricane Dorian survivors builds on his tried-and-tested strategy of dehumanising non-white people by describing them as “bad hombres,” rapists and MS-13 gang members. It builds on his strategy of describing any non-white person seeking refuge in America as a threat to the country.
Trump’s comments, it should be noted, were prompted by a question about an incident on Sunday in which 119 Bahamian evacuees, including children, were told to get off a ferry bound for Florida because they didn’t have US visas.