Trump supporters at an anti-immigration rally in Arizona found the wrong target for their demand to “get out of the country” — a dark-skinned Navajo lawmaker that they mistook for an illegal immigrant.
The incident took place at a rally last week at Arizona’s state capitol, when a group of flag-waving Trump supporters showed up to express their opposition to illegal immigration. According to a report from the Arizona Capitol Times, the group singled out dark-skinned lawmakers, legislative staffers, and even children in their path, calling those with dark skin “illegal” and telling them to “go home.”
One of those targeted was Eric Descheenie, a Native American lawmaker who defended a young student who was reportedly being harassed. The Trump supporters then turned their attacks on Descheenie, asking if the life-long American and native Navajo speaker was in the United States illegally, then telling him to get out of the country.
“I’m indigenous to these lands,” Descheenie told the Arizona Capitol Times. “My ancestors fought and died on these lands. I just told them, ‘Don’t ask me that question.'”
Descheenie seemed especially upset that the group was targeting young children, and later took to Twitter to call on Republican leaders to call out the bad-behaving protesters.
Harrassing and intimidating innocent children is what especially gets me. Where is the GOP leadership drawing the line on this?! Unacceptable! https://t.co/MdrqP3u66u
— Eric Descheenie (@ericdescheenie) January 25, 2018
Many have called out Donald Trump specifically for setting a dangerous tone with his comments regarding illegal immigration. Trump recently released a 2020 campaign ad that claims Democrats are “complicit” in murders committed by illegal immigrants. As Vox noted, the ad drew widespread criticism for its over-the-top tone.
Senator Bernie Sanders said the ad did nothing but “foment hatred” and divide people.
“It is really unbelievable and so sad for our country that we have a president of the United States who says such nonsense and such outrageous statements,” he said.
— MARK CURTIS (@mcurtis12news) January 26, 2018
The White House attempted to distance itself from the video, noting that it was created by an “outside group,” but as Vox noted it was created by Donald Trump’s official re-election campaign.
The misguided attacks on the Navajo lawmaker drew a bit of controversy this week. Two women who were part of the rally denied the charges, telling the Arizona Capitol Times that they did not single out dark-skinned people. But a video of the protests uploaded to YouTube showed that the harassment did indeed take place. The videos show the group of anti-immigration protesters calling people “illegals” and telling them to “get out of America.”