Fabiola Santiago

Trump may think he’s God, but he acts like biblical King Herod persecuting children | Opinion

President Trump says he’s ‘the chosen one’ as he defends trade war with China

President Trump declared he's 'the chosen one' to wage a trade war with China. The president turned and looked at the sky as he made the claim.
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President Trump declared he's 'the chosen one' to wage a trade war with China. The president turned and looked at the sky as he made the claim.

It’s difficult to make sense of crazy, but come along for the ride.

Behind the predictable unhinged façade of President Donald Trump casting himself as a God-like figure (the new twist) and the display of outrageous behavior from the White House this week (same old) is serious, inhumane federal policy.

The God complex got tons of ink and attention.

The policy being put in place — what really matters — is filed in the annals of immigration reporting as another Trump shake-up. But what’s happening with U.S. immigration policy is macabre beyond what people in the trenches can say in public without burning their access to children and families in duress.

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Stay with me.

“I’m the chosen one,” Trump boasted from the lawn of the White House on Wednesday addressing in a signature tirade his trade war with China.

Then, still stuck on the subject of two Muslim U.S. congresswomen being denied visas to travel to Israel, Trump said he’s sick of those “disloyal” Democratic Jews that don’t appreciate his support.

He followed with a Twitter outburst in which the president went on to praise and repeat with glee the words of radio host and conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root who said that “the Jewish people love [Trump] … like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.”

Crazy — and more.

“Christians believe and profess that the only true ‘King of Israel’ is God, as clearly stated in Isaiah 44:6, and that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, into this world,” evangelist Jay Lowder wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “That makes the description of Trump as ‘the second coming of God’ shocking, blasphemous and sacrilegious.”

But here’s what should be more shocking, more sacrilegious if you believe that the lives of children are sacred.

While Trump was anointing himself Messiah status this was going on:

A new Trump administration rule would allow his government to indefinitely imprison immigrant children seeking refuge in the United States. The conditions in which adults are now held in a large group without adequate basic provisions, according to reports from the government’s own Inspector General’s office, is subhuman.

Imagine throwing children into the mix for extended periods of time.

This is the reason the Flores Agreement exists, so that for children, immigration incarceration is finite to no more than 22 traumatic days.

TeenDetentionCampFlorida.JPG
Undocumented migrant youths line up at the Homestead shelter for unaccompanied migrant children on May 6, 2019. A recent court filing says the regimen is prison-like and harmful. Wilfredo Lee AP

A new Trump administration rule would make it easier to deny people paroled into the country — we’re talking legal immigrants here — work permits. The rule gives basically carte blanche to the people Trump has put in place to decide who gets a work permit and who doesn’t on a “case by case basis.”

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And, again this week, President Trump is vowing to end birthright citizenship, which would leave children born to immigrant parents on U.S. soil stateless, among other repercussions.

All of these measures imperil vulnerable families and kids.

People of real faith reject Trump’s ruthless approach to immigration law enforcement — as ungodly as it gets.

“Once again, the Trump administration is using children as pawns in its attack on immigrants,” Lawrence E. Couch, director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, said in a statement. “The theory goes, if the U.S. government treats kids seeking asylum inhumanely, fewer will come. These children are fleeing gangs, and they just want a chance to have a future. As the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world, the United States should be doing more to protect refugee children, not actively participating in their oppression.”

Amen.

If President Donald Trump’s new shtick to rally his base is to come across God-like — and in the process, use Israel as a poker chip to attract voters like he does with Cuba and Venezuela — he ought to at least flesh out his biblical characters and references more thoroughly before opening his mouth.

He’s far from being the Messiah.

He’s more like the despicable King Herod, who ordered the slaughter of male children when he heard that a new king of Israel had been born.

Trump dismisses the plight of those fleeing for their lives as trickery.

The deaths of immigrant children in U.S. custody, on his watch, doesn’t faze him. It’s the parents’ fault, he says.

And he doesn’t care if his policies result in more of them — as long as he can rally the cult to re-elect King Trump.

Award-winning columnist Fabiola Santiago has been writing about all things Miami since 1980, when the Mariel boatlift became her first front-page story. A Cuban refugee child of the Freedom Flights, she’s also the author of essays, short fiction, and the novel “Reclaiming Paris.”
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