There are several reasons that Donald Trump's (now routine) ignorant and callous comments about immigrants are important for us to document.
First, it validates what we've always known about Trump. He's a small-minded, bigoted and hateful man. Referring to undocumented immigrants as animals, and then mixing the topic in with violent and criminal activity, makes it clear that Trump can't help himself. He views foreigners, but especially Latinos and our undocumented populations, as subhuman.
Yes, there are slips of the tongue. Then there are coincidences. What we have with Trump goes beyond a simple faux pas or a set of awkward coincidences. What Trump says is part of a regular pattern of condemnation and hate. Trump's bigoted comments are no accident, and are a dark reminder of history's uglier moments and figures.
Second, Trump's supporters can't deny that the president's language, and tone, has set the environment for ugly incidents like this ...
Incident after incident of disrespectful and violent behavior against people of color and foreigners in America are real, and stacking up like a bad set of Lego blocks. In very simple terms, Trump's race-baiting has struck a chord with the hate-filled racists of America. They now feel empowered and free to go after people who appear suspect in their books.
In the process Donald Trump is dividing America into a nation of "real Americans" (whatever that means) and those of us who are part of Trump's race-based suspect class of subhumans.
Finally, we want to keep track of Trump's race-baiting comments because it allows us to see those who sit back and say nothing when Donald Trump goes off the rails and points fingers at people he clearly views as suspicious, or as enemies of the state.
For example, below is a screenshot of a YouTube clip moments before the camera shifts to Donald Trump making his "animal" comments. Sitting right in front of Trump, as he made his remarks, is our congressional representative from Bakersfield, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).
And, yes, Kevin is the same member of Congress who - as I point out in this op-ed I wrote for the Bakersfield Californian - found it necessary to interrupt and correct Donald Trump in front of the press when he said that he would accept a "clean" (no side deals) DACA bill. But, for some strange reason, Kevin didn't feel compelled to interrupt and say anything when Trump referred to our undocumented population as "animals."
What a stand up guy that Kevin.
So, yeah, Trump's a bigot who's divisive language is creating a suspicious environment his supporters refuse to challenge and, more to the point, appear to thrive in.
This is not the America I know.