News & Politics

Trump's Speech to National Federation of Independent Businesses Is the Proud Rant of a Dictator

The speech received a frightening level of cheers.

Photo Credit: PBS NewsHour

Donald Trump spoke on Tuesday morning to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. In the speech, which received a frighteningly level of cheers, Trump declared those who oppose him are criminals, declaimed that he wants “security, not judges” and repeatedly insisted that his political opponents should simply shut up. In a stunning, angry tirade, Trump talked about Canadians smuggling shoes, repeated his lies about crime rates in Germany, and make a shocking claim that in reporting about families being separated by his immigration policies the news media was supporting criminals and child smugglers.

Trump: They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers.  They know exactly that they’re doing. They know it. They know exactly what they’re doing. And it should be stopped.

Though Trump supposedly came to talk about health care, he jumped immediately into questions of immigration in a speech that was not just unhinged, but unbound. In just a few rambling minutes, he claimed that Democrats want criminals to come into the country, attacked both Canada and Mexico, and repeatedly returned to deeply racist, xenophobic message that saw him come gliding down a golden elevator at the start of his campaign. 

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Trump: These countries that we give tremendous foreign aid to in many cases, they send these people up & they're not sending their finest. Does that sound familiar? Remember I made that speech and I was badly criticized? Turns out I was 100% right and that's why I got elected."

The idea that there is some kind of organized effort among foreign governments to select bad people and put them up for the lengthy, heavily vetted and extremely unlikely prospect of receiving a diversity visa is a conspiracy that exists only in Trump’s mind.  But that did not stop Trump from using it as not just the basis of actions he’s taken so far, but of new, even less sensible foreign policy. 

And that’s still not the worst or most frightening part of this speech.

Trump: I’m going for authorization that when countries abuse us by sending their people up—not their best—we’re not going to give any more aid to those countries. Why the hell should we? This is a responsible, common-sense approach that all lawmakers should embrace.

Trump is punishing countries for something he dreamed up. Following this point, Trump claimed that the United States had surpassed Germany in the number of people who had applied for asylum—treating that as it represented a great failure. Trump then followed up by talking about how Germany had taken in “millions” of immigrants and repeating his false claim that Germany’s crime rate had gone up. But Trump doesn’t have to be telling the truth. Because this was just one of at several occassions in the speech where he declared that he was right simply because he won.

Trump: Crooked Hilary Clinton is questioning that statistic. She says 'it's not true, it's not true.’ Didn't she already have her chance?

Trump’s claim that countries are intentionally sending criminals to the US is a complete fantasy, but Trump now claims it was proven true “because I was elected.” Hilary Clinton can’t cite statistics, because she already had “her chance.”

Trump isn’t making arguments. He’s saying that he doesn’t have to argue. He won. So he’s right. About everything, all the time. And since Trump is now privileged to make up statistics, he can make them say anything he wants.

Trump: You say ‘Welcome to America, welcome to our country ...’ You never get them out! Because they take their name. They bring their name down, they file it. Then they let the person go. They say, ‘Show back up to court in one year from now.’ One year! But here’s the thing. That in itself is ridiculous. Like three percent come back.”

There is indeed something “ridiculous” in that statement, because the statistic is closer to 80 percent. Even the most immigrant-angry Republicans had previously made claim of “only two thirds.” Trump has now pulled out a number that’s wrong by an order of magnitude. And then some.

In mid-speech, Trump wandered in and out of talking about the IG report, which he claimed showed that the government was full of “terrible people” and that Hilary Clinton got away with terrible things. Trump also insisted that Mexico was a hellhole where no one could live for more than a “couple of days” and Canada so burdened by tariffs that Canadians came to the US to smuggle back shoes, which they made appear old by “scuffing them up” and wearing them across the border.

Trump also reserved part of his attack for Democrats.

Trump: We need Democrats support. They don’t want to give it, because Democrats love open borders — let the whole world come in. The whole world! MS-13! Gang members from all over the place. Come on in, we have open borders. And they view that possibly intelligently except that it’s destroying our country. They view that as potential voters. Someday, they’re going to vote for Democrats.

What evidence does Trump offer for this? Because he won. That’s all. And because he won, he doesn’t have to answer to anyone. Which, so long as Republicans in the House and Senate agree, is absolutely right.

Trump’s speech may seem on the surface like just another of his bumbling rants. But there’s a serious, deeply concerning theme here: He can’t be questioned. He can’t be contradicted. He hasn’t been elected, he’s been anointed as ruler.

Note: The transcript of this speech was not yet available at the time of writing, but there are some good excerpts and clips available from Aaron Rupar and Daniel Dale.

 

Mark Sumner is the author of the nonfiction work "The Evolution of Everything" as well as several novels including "Devil's Tower."