President Donald Trump has often shown his deeply anti-Muslim bigotry, Islamophobia and hate. But just when you think he couldn’t make already vulnerable Muslim-Americans — especially our fellow Iranian-Americans — any more vulnerable than we already are, Trump one-ups himself.
On Monday, the President retweeted a blatantly doctored, fake image of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer in Middle Eastern garb together in front of an Iranian flag. In the image, Pelosi is wearing a hijab and Schumer has a turban on his head with “Democrats 2020” written on the bottom of the image. The tweet accompanying the photo reads “the corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue.”
Trump retweeted the image from an anonymous account with the alias “D0wn_Under,” which has previously tweeted out other conspiracy theories around Pelosi and Iran.
Trump didn’t stop with just one deeply offensive, anti-Muslim tweet. Other tweets he sent included one showing a graphic picture of what appeared to be a man’s mutilated body, along with the claim that Pelosi “supports this mullahs’ crime.” The tweet was later removed and replaced, according to the Washington Post, with a note saying it “violated the Twitter Rules.”
All of this is a new low, even for the impeached president who is infamous for making low blows, and it’s a new low for the people who work for him. Trump’s tweeting the racist pictures show that this president apparently believes portraying someone as Muslim and as sympathetic to a Muslim country is a good way to insult them. Making fun of Islamic clothing, reducing the world’s roughly 1.6 billion Muslim population to turbans and veils is offensive and incorrect, especially considering not all Muslims choose to cover or wear religious headgear.
Instead of trying to apologize for her boss’s tweets, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham went on Fox News and defended Trump’s decision to amplify the tweet, stating he did what he did to make a point.
“I think the president is making clear that the Democrats have been parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill the Americans,” she said. “I think the president was making the point that the Democrats seem to hate him so much that they’re willing to be on the side of countries and leadership of countries who want to kill Americans.”
Even if we were to seriously consider Grisham’s point on Trump just lashing out at fellow US government officials for opposing his foreign policy, is it ever OK to insult your opponents using Islamophobic slurs?