A reporter stumped White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday by asking why it wasn’t “racist” for President Joe Biden to threaten to close the southern border, when Democrats said it was “racist” for President Donald Trump to do so in 2019.
Last week, Biden promised to “shut down the border” if a bipartisan border deal — which no one, including the White House, has seen yet — passed Congress. (Critics say that he already has the authority and the money to do so, and do not trust his promises.)
When Trump said the same, in 2019, he was called “racist” and “xenophobic.” For example, a Washington Post op-ed said:
Trump may be the most xenophobic American leader in United States history. From the effort to restrict immigrants from mostly Muslim countries and the drastic reduction in refugee admissions, to efforts to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and the denial of asylum seekers from Central America, Trump’s policies have transformed immigration to the United States.
By the time that Republican Donald Trump ran for president in 2015, calling for a “great big wall” along the southern border and a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims coming to the United States, the idea that Mexican “criminals” and Muslim “terrorists” were “invading” the United States had been well established and even normalized in the media. Many Americans expressed outrage at these explicitly racist and xenophobic positions. But in fact, Trump was repeating a message that had been gaining traction for decades, and has long been an American tradition.
Given that Biden is now using “almost identical language,” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre, “why should people make the same conclusion?”
She struggled to answer the question, saying only that Biden would have “new enforcement tools” if the bill passed, and that shutting down the border would have “a different definition” than it did in the past.
The reporter then asked why the bill should pass, given that not even the White House had seen any text of its provisions. She denied that there was any contradiction: “The White House team has been part of the negotiations. … I don’t want to get ahead of the conversations. I don’t want to get in the middle of negotiations.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the 2021 e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now updated with a new foreword. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.