The tweeting president keeps trolling the “fake” news media. White House staffers keep leaking to the very same outlets the president derides as “phony,” even as government lawyers confiscate the aides’ personal iPhones. And almost all of it is rooted in exaggerated fear.
Fear of Muslim immigrants. Fear of worried Obamacare clients at congressional town halls. Fear of the jokes at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Fear of what some Hollywood statue-hugger might say about the president from the Oscar stage.
But you know who has something scary-real to fear in the days ahead, far more than the dark-warners in Washington? Millions of hard-working immigrants, legal or illegal, suddenly at dire peril across Donald Trump’s America.
White House senior counselor Stephen Miller, age 31, is coming back with a barely tweaked seven-nation Muslim ban.
Harsh new deportation rules have put 11 million immigrants at immediate risk of expulsion. Now, any abuela who runs a red light can be grabbed and shipped off, regardless of how long she’s been in the country or how spotlessly she has behaved.
Here in Trump’s America, the Land of Opportunity is giving way to the Land of Rising Adversity. “America First” is sounding more and more like “White, Native-Born America First,” the adjectives rarely spoken but heard by millions nonetheless.
The most disturbing human story of the past few days? It’s the unprovoked hate-shooting of two Indian engineers at a bar in Olathe, Kansas. A rage-filled, slur-spewing local, a U.S. Navy veteran, has been charged with killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounding Alok Madasani.
Madasani’s father, Jagan Mohan Reddy, is now wracked with worry about his wounded son and a second son also living in America. Should he urge his boys to return to India at once for their own safety?
“We have to think it over,” the fearful father said to a reporter from Hyderabad, India. “My sons are not new to America. They have been staying there for 10 to 12 years. This is a new situation, and they are the best judges.”
No one but the shooter pulled the trigger. But it’s not unreasonable to ask: Who put the gun in his hand?
Metro columnist Ellis Henican is a veteran journalist, a bestselling author and a frequent commentator on CNN and other TV networks. Follow him on Twitter @henican.