Rand Paul appeared on Sunday's "Meet the Press" and argued that President Trump couldn't be a racist because
I did about 200 cataract surgeries with a group of surgeons in Haiti and the same in Central America. And when we asked Donald J. Trump as a private citizen to support those trips, he was a large financial backer of both medical mission trips. So I think it's unfair to sort of draw conclusions from a remark that I think wasn’t constructive, is the least we can say.
And I think it's unfair then to sort of all of a sudden paint him, "Oh well, he's a racist," when I know, for a fact, that he cares very deeply about the people in Haiti because he helped finance a trip where we were able to get vision back for 200 people in Haiti.
Obviously, there are many reasons for extremely wealthy people to give to charities which have nothing to do with the color of skin of the people who may be benefitted, and that if Rand Paul or Donald Trump were concerned about charitable giving, they wouldn't have supported the Corporate Tax Scam of 2017. The legislation, The New York Times notes, "roughly doubles the standard tax deduction, to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples. A higher standard deduction means fewer taxpayers will itemize their deductions on their tax returns, reducing the incentive to give to charities." (And Paul could have cosponsored Senator Lankford's amendment which would have allowed the deduction for taxpayers who take the new and improved standard deduction.)
But his remarks did illustrate how confused- or mistaken- people are about the reason Trump made his remark- which reportedly he did so repeatedly. Paul argues
I think people jumped a little bit to a conclusion. Let's take the whole scenario and put different words in there and let's say, "We'd rather have people from economically-prosperous countries than economically-deprived countries." Or, Then it wouldn't have been so controversial.
Of course, it wouldn't have. But he didn't, and it was no mistake. Paul adds
In 2013, Lindsey Graham said the exact same thing the president did, but he used the hell-hole. "We can't have everybody coming from every hell-hole on the planet here." And now everybody thinks Lindsey Graham's a great statesman because he's put out this thing about American ideals, and stuff, which was a good statement, but he said almost the identical thing to the president in 2013.
But- policy implications aside- Trump did not say the same thing, and it was no mistake.
The President used crude and rude language because it painted a more graphic picture than did "hell-hole." He wanted to promote a crappy (pun intended) image of the undeveloped countries because he otherwise would not have gotten the visceral, gut reaction he cravesfrom supporters. NBC's Hallie Jackson on Friday tweeted
Two sources tell @GeoffRBennett and me POTUS worked the phones, calling friends/allies to gauge reaction to "sh*thole" fallout. One source familiar describes his mood as "belligerent" at fallout/coverage; another says he wanted insight into how his base might react.
Similarly, on Sunday conservative Christian and Trump critic Erick Erickson tweeted
It’s weird that people in the room don’t remember Trump using that word when Trump himself was calling friends to brag about it afterwards. I spoke to one of those friends. The President thought it would play well with the base.
Trump selected language he knew was descriptive and offensive, notwithstanding what Rand Paul and other Trump supporters- such as GOP TV's Tucker Carlson- may believe. Carlson remarked "an awful lot of immigrants come to this country from other places (that are) dirty, they're corrupt and they're poor, and that's the main reason those immigrants are trying to come here and you would, too, if you lived there."
That's a legitimate argument to make- if it had anything to do with what Trump said in the manner he said it.
It didn't. It didn't, because voters of his base would have barely reacted if the President had calmly stated "We realize that there are more problems in economically-deprived countries, therefore there's a bigger impetus for them to want to come." Neither would it have served his purpose had he remarked "We regret we cannot accomodate the good people from these economically-deprived countries who want to migrate to our own."
But "s_ _ _ hole" countries gives them red meat, especially knowing that their enemy, the liberal-academic-minority complex, would howl in opposition.
President Trump gets a two-fer. His fans, whose support he'll need after calls for impeachment following release of the special counsel's report, clap and honk their horns in unison. And he further divides the people of the United State of America, a primary tactic since he announced his candidacy, and one which his buddy in the Kremlin surely approves of.