Now that the Biden administration is well underway, Republicans are shamefully going right back to the Trump toolbox in order to tear him down — and reviving the worst of his racist fearmongering. Republican minority whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) warned that there were “super-spreader caravans” of migrants coming across the southern border, raising the hateful trope of the migrant caravan to rile up racist Trumpers and simultaneously attempting to pin the blame for COVID-19 spread on immigrants and not the abysmal leadership of Republican governors.
“There are super spread caravans coming across our border,” @SteveScalise just now at the House GOP leadership news conference.
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 9, 2021
There is very little evidence that immigrants are spreading COVID-19 despite the lies being promoted by Texas Republicans; the reality is that since January, a total of 108 migrants — a mere 6.3% of the total number released — have tested positive for COVID-19. On the other hand, the Americans of Texas themselves have racked up a staggering 2.6 million cases and have an average of 4,500 new cases every single day with their refusal to enforce a mask mandate and the reckless decision to re-open all businesses as new variants begin to pick up speed.
Invoking the “caravans” as a fearmongering technique was one of Donald Trump’s favorite tools in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections, with deadly consequences. The conspiracy theories about the caravans that Trump and the right-wing pushed were explicitly linked to the horrifying anti-Semitic massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue, which the Nazi killer targeted for its work with refugees. To hear them being revived to shoulder the Trump administration’s blame for the preventable spread of COVID-19 is appalling and a grim reminder that while Trump may be gone, the monstrous racist energies he unleashed are still as strong as they ever were in the GOP.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.