On Saturday morning, President Donald Trump offered yet another defense of the racist chants that broke out at his recent rally in North Carolina, by promoting a video of the event from the British political commentator Katie Hopkins:
As you can see, I did nothing to lead people on, nor was I particularly happy with their chant. Just a very big and patriotic crowd. They love the USA! https://t.co/6IVKEffNnq
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 20, 2019
There’s a lot that’s wrong about Trump’s tweet. The crowd was following Trump’s cues—he really did tell Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to leave the country, and he paused for 13 seconds to let the chanting build. And perhaps more importantly, a mob of people chanting for a refugee-turned-American-citizen-turned-member-of-Congress to be deported to Somalia does not really love America that much. Trump wants credit for distancing himself from the crowd at the same time he’s enveloping them in the highest praise.
But wait a second, who’s Katie Hopkins? Per Todd Schulte, the president of the immigration advocacy group FWD.US, she’s an anti-Muslim pundit who called for a “final solution” for Muslims in her country following a 2017 terrorist attack:
Katie Hopkins, who the President quote tweets here, has said Jews were to blame for the Pittsburgh massacre because they supported immigration and called for a “final solution” for Muslims in the UK.
— Todd Schulte (@TheToddSchulte) July 20, 2019
Per that Guardian piece, Hopkins also “wrote a column for the Sun in which she compared migrants to cockroaches and suggested Europe should use gunboats to stop them crossing the Mediterranean.” Back in 2016, after a truck drove into a crowd in Nice killing dozens, Hopkins said, “I am not Islamophobic. Islam disgusts me. This is entirely rational.”
Amplifying Hopkins’ voice is significant because Trump’s criticism of Omar is ostensibly that he believes she’s anti-semitic (because of her criticism of the Israeli government). But it was Hopkins who blamed last year’s mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Jewish leaders’ support for migrants.
So where does Trump even find these people? Per the BBC, “Katie Hopkins first came under the public gaze when she was a contestant on the BBC TV series The Apprentice in 2007.” Of course.