The morning after a terrorism attack in New York City, Donald Trump thought watching Fox & Friends more urgent than getting his daily intelligence briefing. Guess which one he got his talking points from?
This morning, NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander reported, “The bottom line, the president, before he’s had his intelligence briefing for this day, is receiving his information from Fox & Friends, it appears, and he’s speaking out because of it.”
By “speaking out,” Alexander meant Trump was tweeting. And, unlike the White House claim that the day after the Las Vegas shooting was a time “to unite as a country” and not discuss gun control, Trump is all about divisive politicization now, less than 24 hours after the terror attack.
The terrorist came into our country through what is called the "Diversity Visa Lottery Program," a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter). @foxandfriends— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
"Senator Chuck Schumer helping to import Europes problems" said Col.Tony Shaffer. We will stop this craziness! @foxandfriends— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
As Media Matters explains, the Diversity Visa Program was signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush:
Police shot and arrested the attack suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, after his vehicle smashed into a school bus. WABC, the ABC affiliate in New York City, reported that “authorities say he came to the United States seven years ago from Uzbekistan under what is called the Diversity Visa Program, which offers a lottery for people from countries with few immigrants in America.” Right-wing websites hyped this detail in their posts on the attack, though The Washington Post said it was “unconfirmed.” The Post explained that the diversity visa program originated in part in a bill Schumer introduced in the House in 1990, which was signed into law by Republican President George H.W. Bush.
After the Fox & Friends co-hosts and former Trump White House aide Sebastian Gorka in two separate segments castigated the diversity visa program as a security risk and Brian Kilmeade called on Schumer to publicly repudiate it, Trump followed his well-worn path of making public statements based on what he sees on the Fox News morning show, repeatedly calling out Schumer by name[.]
What Trump and Friends seem to have missed, according to political scientist Anna O. Law, was that the bill was designed to help Irish and Italian immigrants, i.e. white Europeans. Apparently, Trump would rather parrot Nazi-tied, fake-terror expert Gorka than do any independent investigation. To be fair, Gorka was prodded by the Fox & Friends cohosts. (Transcript excerpts below, via Media Matters, with my emphases.)
DOOCY: So, Dr. Gorka, people this morning are waking up and they’re trying to figure out how did this terrorist get in the United States of America? He came in legally. He came in through the diversity visa program back in 1990, when the 1990 Immigration Act was going through Congress. Turns out Chuck Schumer attached his bill, this diversity visa program, to this.
SEBASTIAN GORKA: Yeah.
DOOCY: Which brings in 50,000 visas from a variety of countries, some with known terrorist entities, as well. And I know that your former boss, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has made it very clear he wants to get rid of this program. Given the fact what happened yesterday here in New York City happened, does he have a stronger case for getting rid of it?
GORKA: Sadly, this event just reinforces all the efforts the president has made with regards to reforming immigration, the extreme vetting, looking at why and how we choose people to come into this country. And by the constitutional writ of this nation, it is his prerogative. It is the president's prerogative to decide upon what metrics we measure immigration into this country. And the idea that -- I mean, we are the most diverse nation the world has ever seen.
KILMEADE: We don't need a lottery.
Later in the interview, Gorka suggested that the visa program arose out of political correctness which is supposedly deadly now.
What didn’t come up in this discussion? Trump’s Muslim ban would not have prevented Saipov from entering the country. In fact, Trump’s ban would not have prevented any terrorism-related deaths in the United States over the past 20 years.
But Fox would rather massage Trump’s ego, ramp up partisan and ethnic divisiveness and exploit a tragedy than examine what policies might effectively prevent the next tragedy.
Even worse, Donald Trump seems to think exactly the same way.
Watch Trump’s daily briefing below, from the November 1, 2017 Fox & Friends.