Morning Joe Suggests Trump’s Rhetoric Could Lead to ‘Genocide’ of Blacks and Hispanics

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Posted: Aug 14, 2018 7:00 PM
Morning Joe Suggests Trump’s Rhetoric Could Lead to ‘Genocide’ of Blacks and Hispanics

On Tuesday’s “Morning Joe,” co-host Joe Scarborough went on an extended rant excoriating President Trump for calling ex-White House advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman a ‘dog’ on Twitter. 

After reading out Trump’s tweet on air, Scarborough made the case that Trump’s ‘dog’ comment was not just an insult directed against a single person that the president doesn’t like. Instead, Joe saw a far darker implication – Trump was imitating the rhetoric that “tyrants…autocrats…fascists, [and] communists” use to prepare for committing genocide [emphasis mine]:

“We’ve heard it said before and we’ve heard it discussed before about how tyrants and autocrats and, yes, fascists, communists, others have used the language of dehumanization to justify, well, a movement away from democracy and a movement away from decent standards. 

“And I’ll tell you, just in the past ten minutes, I did a quick search on why certain leaders do that. I found an NPR article where they interviewed David Livingstone Smith who wrote a book called “Less Than Human: The Psychology of Cruelty” [Author’s Note: not the real name of the book], and as NPR explained during the interview that during the Holocaust, Nazis referred to Jews as rats. In Rwanda genocide was often justified with calling Tutsis cockroaches. Slave owners throughout history considered slaves subhuman animals. That was one of the key takeaways from the book “Less Than Human,” and it argues that it’s important to define and describe dehumanization because – and again, this was written in 2011 – because it opens the door for cruelty and genocide. 

“Nobody’s saying that Donald Trump is a Nazi. Nobody’s saying that he’s Adolf Hitler in 1938, 1939, 1940, but you can see time and time again…this is actually how dictators and tyrants open the door and they do it by dehumanizing their political opponents.”

In response to Scarborough’s argument that “tyrant” Trump’s insult is just like what the Nazis did to Jews to justify the Holocaust, PBS host Alicia Menendez agreed with Joe and went on to claim that Trump’s allegedly genocidal rhetoric was already influencing policy down at America’s southern border. Specifically, Menendez said that the separation of illegal alien criminals from their children at the border was influenced by Trump and his supporters’ belief that illegal immigrants “are no longer people.”

Scarborough followed up on Menendez’s unsupported accusations of racial supremacism by falsely claiming that Trump called all Hispanics “breeders” and compared them to animals:

“When [Trump] launched his campaign he talked about Mexicans being racists [sic]. Just this past year, what did he call Hispanics? He called Hispanics breeders, like they were animals, like they were dogs, like they were mules. And we’ve seen it time and time again. So he uses that language, and what does it move to? It moves to a policy where infants are ripped from their mother’s breasts at the border, separated, and possibly orphaned for life.”

Although there is no recorded instance of Trump calling Hispanics “breeders,” there is one tweet of the president incoherently referring to a “crime infested & breeding concept” in relation to sanctuary cities:

Trump’s ungrammatical phrasing here is open to some level of interpretation (even a CNN piece decrying the tweet as racist admits that the text is “difficult to understand” and thus hard to decipher), but there is nothing about Hispanics in the tweet, let alone calling them all “breeders” or any type of animal. 

Ignoring Scarborough’s blatant mischaracterization, Menendez instead concluded her part of the segment by raising the alarm about how the “far right” and their rhetoric of “hate that is being spewed” is becoming “mainstream” via the White House and mused about voters coming out in November to send a message that “this is not the way that we talk about others in America.”

The video of the “Morning Joe” segment discussed above can be found here. A transcript of Scarborough and Menendez’s exchange can be found below:

JOE SCARBOROUGH [MSNBC, HOST]: As I’m sure many of you know that are watching the show, Donald Trump is tweeting again and tweeting about his former White House advisor Omarosa. And he just posted this a short time ago, quote: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

We’ve heard it said before and we’ve heard it discussed before about how tyrants and autocrats and, yes, fascists, communists, others have used the language of dehumanization to justify, well, a movement away from democracy and a movement away from decent standards. 

And I’ll tell you, just in the past ten minutes, I did a quick search on why certain leaders do that. I found an NPR article where they interviewed David Livingstone Smith who wrote a book called “Less Than Human: The Psychology of Cruelty” [author’s note: not the real name of the book], and as NPR explained during the interview that during the Holocaust, Nazis referred to Jews as rats. In Rwanda genocide was often justified with calling Tutsis cockroaches. Slave owners throughout history considered slaves subhuman animals. That was one of the key takeaways from the book “Less Than Human,” and it argues that it’s important to define and describe dehumanization because – and again, this was written in 2011 – because it opens the door for cruelty and genocide. 

Nobody’s saying that Donald Trump is a Nazi. Nobody’s saying that he’s Adolf Hitler in 1938, 1939, 1940, but you can see time and time again – and I’ll go to Alicia here – this is actually how dictators and tyrants open the door and they do it by dehumanizing their political opponents. 

ALICIA MENENDEZ [PBS, CO-HOST OF “AMANPOUR & CO.”]: Right, and you know, Joe, there’s a piece of this that is about language. We saw a lot of this language used during the campaign. The real problem though is way that it connects to policy. So when you watch what’s happening at our southern border, when you watch children being taken from their parents, when you face the reality that there’s still over five hundred of those children who have not been reunited with their parents, that goes back to this language. That goes back to the fact that we have set a baseline where these are no longer people. These are no longer people who are like us. They do not deserve the basic rights that we as Americans enjoy and deserve, and that’s where this language becomes particularly scary. 

SCARBOROUGH: Well, Alicia, let’s follow up on that, because guess what led up to his – what I think many would think – savage behavior on the border. When he launched his campaign he talked about Mexicans being racists [sic]. Just this past year, what did he call Hispanics? He called Hispanics breeders, like they were animals, like they were dogs, like they were mules. And we’ve seen it time and time again. So he uses that language, and what does it move to? It moves to a policy where infants are ripped from their mother’s breasts at the border, separated, and possibly orphaned for life. There actually is precedent here.

MENENDEZ: And Joe, this language is not new, right? I mean, this language has been played by those on the far right for a very long time. What’s now alarming is how mainstream it is becoming, so mainstream that it is now coming out of our White House. So when you hear a Laura Ingraham giving her rant about the United States, the changing nature of the United States, the demographic shift that is happening in the United States, her connecting that demographic shift to immigration, that’s not a dog whistle, that’s a blowhorn and it is intended to rile up people who are upset about the fact that America is changing. And the question I have is whether or not that is going to motivate people going into November on both sides of the isle to come out and say this is not the way that we talk about others in America, or to see if other people are motivated by the hate that is being spewed.