This week was a dark one if you consider the U.S. president and his openly racist attitude toward people of the Islam faith. On Wednesday, Trump retweeted three videos which appeared to involve Muslim migrants abusing white people. These videos were endorsed by the British Ultranationalist group, Britain First. The titles of the videos retweeted by Trump are: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”
Firstly, to clear up the information issue with these videos. The video entitled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” is simply not accurate. Both of the boys in the video are Dutch, local authorities report. The second issue is that Trump did not address the context of the remaining videos. He did not acknowledge the political turmoil occurring within the countries during the time of the two videos, both of which are four years-old.
The majority of response to Trump’s tweets has been outrage, but some believe he is fulfilling the persona of a president, unlike politicians, in that he does not filter his speech. One would argue then, however, that this type of speech is actually inciting violence. Possibly not directly, and whether intentional or unintentional this type of speech/behavior from a U.S. president will not go overlooked. We are currently walking a very thin line of peace and to say that our president is rocking the boat would be a severe understatement. Trump asserting his First Amendment rights looks like a wave about to sweep you into the undertow and drag you deep under the surface. His utter lack of civility, while representing the American public, threatens our physical safety. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything but watch him drag us under.
Though his speech is technically not against the law, it is toeing the edge. His speech impacts the entire world, and it is a relevant First Amendment issue. Trump’s tweets have never been restrained and he continues to attack news organizations, politicians, the NFL and others. However, these most recent tweeted videos present a more significant shift in his persona. Now, his image is linked with Britain First. He has shown the people where his allegiance lies and despite pretending to represent all of the American people, he can no longer claim this. What will this do to the U.S. in the future? Not to mention he is complete hypocrite. Most, if not all of us now know what he is. He needs to check his ability to propagate fake news, because a lot of it originates with what comes out of his mouth. He calls out news organizations for fake news but then retweets videos with false information.
Not to mention, people reading his twitter might unconsciously/consciously internalize a negative connotation of migrant Muslims with this targeted publication. All people have the right to practice their religion without feeling as though that part of them is being threatened. He is abusing his power to demean and demonize people based on religion and playing right into the hands of extremists. By propagating these videos he is giving extremist groups, like ISIS, another reason to strike back.
Our president is attacking our rights to free speech and the First Amendment and using those same rights to inappropriately accuse migrant Muslims. He is aggravating an already raw subject and we will pay the price for his ignorance and unfortunately his ability to assert his First Amendment rights.
See this article for more information about the impact the Trump Administration will have on First Amendment freedoms.