AP via Time, in case you missed the considerable hubbub this weekend:
Declaring “our country is full,” President Donald Trump on Friday insisted the U.S. immigration system was overburdened and illegal crossings must be stopped as he inspected a refurbished section of fencing at the Mexican border.
Trump, making a renewed push for border security as a central campaign issue for his 2020 re-election, participated in a briefing on immigration and border security in Calexico before viewing a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) see-through steel-slat barrier that was a long-planned replacement for an older barrier — and not new wall.
“There is indeed an emergency on our southern border,” Trump said at the briefing, adding that there has been a sharp uptick in illegal crossings. “It’s a colossal surge and it’s overwhelming our immigration system, and we can’t let that happen. … We can’t take you anymore. We can’t take you. Our country is full.”
Back in 2015, former Congressman Tom Tancredo was interviewed by the Denver Post for his thoughts about Donald Trump–at a time when Trump was still considered a sideshow instead of a credible campaign for the presidency and his thoughts about the ‘rapists and some good people’ coming into the country were freshly offending the nation’s sensibilities. Tancredo responded that he most certainly supported Trump’s sentiments on immigration, but suggested Trump be “a little more artful” about how he says things:
“He should take lessons from me on how to talk to the press. For a small fee — no, actually for a very large fee — I will help him out. You’ve got to learn how to talk about it, which takes years of practice, which God knows I’ve had,” Tancredo said, cracking himself up.
For most of his long career in politics, Tancredo’s hard line on immigration has been so politically toxic that even most fellow Republicans kept him at arm’s length. During the last Republican administration under George W. Bush, Tancredo’s headline-making invective against immigrants and Muslims, once suggesting the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina be “taken out” and that Miami is a “third world country,” was harshly condemned by fellow conservatives who went to great lengths to marginalize Tancredo within the Republican coalition:
“What a nut,” [Florida Gov. Jeb] Bush told reporters. “I’m just disappointed. He’s from my own my party. He’s a Republican. He doesn’t represent my views.” [Pols emphasis]
Today the Republican President of the United States makes the kind of unhinged rhetoric that Tom Tancredo employed to infamy look tame by comparison on a daily basis. And when Donald Trump declares “our country is full,” he’s elevating the slogan of a man who was too far out on the fringe to be governor of Colorado barely a year ago. Because Tom Tancredo was around long before Trump legitimized Tancredo’s style of bitter anti-immigrant demagoguery, Tancredo serves as an excellent yardstick with which to measure how far the national discourse has fallen under Trump.
The answer: very, very far.