There were few standout moments during Tuesday night’s Republican National Convention, but one featured President Trump’s conspicuous attempt to blur the memory of his years of anti-immigrant words and deeds.
Trump entered a room in the White House as “Hail to the Chief” played, then stood by in a prerecorded, hastily planned, naturalization ceremony for five immigrants from various countries around the world.
The whole thing, crudely edited, lasted about 10 minutes.
After acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf administered the oath of citizenship, Trump praised the three women and two men for earning “the most prized, cherished and treasured possession anywhere. It’s called American citizenship.”
This, from a president who has for years done little but “systematically made it much harder for people to come to the U.S. legally to work, study or settle in the country,” as the Associated Press put it.
“Aides to the president brag about the reductions in overall immigration, saying the efforts are helping protect Americans from having to compete with immigrants for jobs,” reports the New York Times.
“The Democratic National Committee blasted the event, releasing a statement saying that ‘Trump doesn’t care about immigrants unless he’s using them as props,’” reported The Hill.
The stunt also appears to have violated the law, according to the Washington Post:
“Kathleen Clark, a legal and government ethics professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, said that the event appeared to be designed as part of the convention, an action that would violate a criminal provision of the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from participating in politics in their official capacity.
”Under the act, federal employees are prohibited from using their authority to influence the election of a presidential candidate, she said, calling Trump and Wolf “breathtaking in their contempt for the law.”