During a rambling and lie-filled rally Thursday night in Grand Rapids, Michigan, President Donald Trump mocked asylum-seekers fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, suggesting they are not actually afraid for their lives.
“This stuff always plays in the press like bad manners or a confounding lapse of presidential decorum but he’s the actual literal boss of the actual literal goons hunting people down and throwing them into prison camps right now.”
“You have people coming up. You know they’re all met by the lawyers,” Trump said. “And they come out, they’re all met by the lawyers, and they say, ‘Say the following phrase: I am very afraid for my life. I am afraid for my life.'”
“And then I look at the guy. He looks like he just got out of the ring. He’s the heavyweight champion of the world,” the president said to laughter from the crowd. “He’s afraid for his life. It’s a big fat con job, folks.”
Trump’s remarks came amid outrage over migrant treatment in El Paso, Texas, where hundreds of people—including many women and young children—are being detained in what some described as “concentration camps.”
Critics were appalled—though not surprised—by Trump’s mockery of asylum-seekers, condemning the president’s comments as “evil,” “cruel,” and “sickening.”
One observer pointed to reporting showing that many asylum-seekers who have been turned away at the border have been killed or severely persecuted upon returning to their home countries.
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“Literally the single most powerful person on the planet mocking some of the most vulnerable people on the planet,” tweeted Daniel Balson, Europe and Central Asia advocacy director at Amnesty International.
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