Biden campaign rips Trump's Time interview: 'We cannot go back'


Biden 2024 campaign Co-chair Rep. Verónica Escobar (D-Texas) lambasted former President Trump over his immigration comments in a Time Magazine interview published Tuesday, during which he vowed mass deportations if he comes back to power.

In the interview, Trump repeated several falsehoods that have become a staple of his campaign pitch, including overstating rates of criminality among immigrants and the number of undocumented immigrants in the country.

“Trump repeating troubling and dangerous rhetoric goes against the very fabric of who we are as a nation. He isn’t just committing to reimplement the cruel, systematic policies of ripping away mothers from their children from his time in office — he’s pledging to go further by using the military and law enforcement to enact his cruel, anti-American, and ineffective immigration policies,” said Escobar in a statement obtained exclusively by The Hill.

Escobar was reacting to Trump’s pledge to use local law enforcement and the National Guard to strictly enforce immigration laws, at one point praising former President Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” though not by name.

“Dwight Eisenhower was very big on illegal immigration not coming into our country. And he did a massive deportation of people. He was doing it for a long time. He got very proficient at it,” Trump told the magazine.

Trump escalated his threat to use the military, telling Time magazine that undocumented immigrants “aren’t civilians,” and repeating rhetoric of an “invasion,” and using a dog whistle referring to migrants as males of “fighting age.”

That descriptor, also sometimes phrased as “military age,” is commonplace in right-wing media and among GOP immigration hardliners, and is meant to suggest migrants are potentially undercover members of foreign adversarial military groups, a claim for which there is no evidence.

Escobar excoriated Trump for that sort of rhetoric, highlighting the 2019 El Paso shooting, where a gunman who expressed anti-Mexican sentiment as his primary motivation killed 23 people and injured another 22.

“I saw the dire consequences of his language and policies firsthand during my first term in Congress: my community was the victim of his continued and consistent xenophobic rhetoric when a white supremacist — who published a screed online using Trump’s own words — slaughtered Latinos in El Paso on August 3rd, 2019. We cannot go back,” said Escobar.

Trump also downplayed the need for new detention camps to house immigrants slated for deportation — though he explicitly did not rule out the possibility — saying “there wouldn’t be that much of a need for [camps], because of the fact that we’re going to be moving them out. We’re going to bring them back from where they came.”

Repatriations of foreign nationals are limited by a number of factors, including limited resources to conduct deportation flights and whether other countries will accept those flights.

Venezuela, for instance, does not currently accept removal flights from the United States, and is a major country of origin for people on the move.

Along with the interview, Time published a lengthy fact check of Trump’s statements, rebuffing his claims on the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States and the definition of “civilian,” among others.

“The American people will not stand for Trump’s attacks on immigrants; on mothers; and on children. They want solutions at our border, not more sick political stunts that come at the expense of the most vulnerable and with an embrace of authoritarianism. Today’s reporting from TIME only highlights the stakes of this election: we must work to reelect President Biden and Vice President Harris,” said Escobar.

Biden’s team has also sharply criticized Trump’s comments on abortion in the Time interview, including saying that it should be up to states to decide whether or not to monitor women’s pregnancies or prosecute them for having an abortion.

“I think they might do that. Again, you’ll have to speak to the individual states,” Trump said.

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