Trump Blows His Celebration of Immigration Enforcement by Remarking That Latino Officer Speaks English

The event was designed to boost morale among embattled immigration officers, but it backfired.

President Donald Trump largely stuck to scripted remarks during a Monday event honoring immigration officers at the White House. But any attempt to boost morale among the officers amid backlash against the administration’s hardline immigration policies was undermined by a brief, off-the-cuff moment when Trump invited a Latino Border Patrol agent to the podium.

“Adrian, come here. I want to ask you a question,” Trump said while introducing an agent he said had recently arrested someone attempting to smuggle dozens of immigrants. (Bloomberg reporter Jen Jacobs identified the agent as Adrian Anzaldua.) “Come here, come here. You’re not nervous, right?”

Then Trump added, “Speaks perfect English.”

The offhand comment prompted immediate outrage across the internet for suggesting that someone with a Latino background whose job is to enforce US border policy might not speak English well. The remark came less than one week after Trump attracted similar condemnation for attacking former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman as “that dog.”

Monday’s event was designed to honor officers at two embattled immigration agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, amid mounting calls to adopt a more humane immigration policy and “abolish” ICE. Trump repeatedly appeared to misstate the widely used acronym for Customs and Border Protection, calling the agency CBC.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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