Donald Trump is being accused of racism by a Democratic Congresswoman who said the president's demand for a border wall is really just a bid to make America "pure" again with no "folks of color."
Washington Democrat Pramila Jayapal leveled the charge at Trump during an appearance on MSNBC this week, saying the president is yearning for a version of America that does not contain any racial minorities. Jayapal said that Trump never really intended to build a physical wall at the border, but instead wanted to use the idea of a wall to let minorities know that they are not welcome in the United States.
"This has never been about a wall. He actually could have gotten funding a couple of years ago, or a year ago, for a wall," Jayapal said, via Mediaite.
"It was part of a deal that was proposed, not all of us agreed with that deal but it was proposed to him and he turned it down because his ultimate goal is, as you said, to make America 'pure' in the sense of not having immigrants, not having folks of color here, and shutting down every form of legal immigration."
Jayapal has become one of Donald Trump's chief critics on his demand for a border wall, publicly opposing the idea of giving any funding for it and highlighting the good work of immigrants and those who work with them.She joins a number of others who say that Trump's insistence on a border wall is a thinly veiled nod to his racist supporters. Columnist Jason Sattler wrote in USA Today that Trump's border wall was never about improving national security, as many have pointed out that a wall would be one of the most ineffective and costly measures to address illegal immigration.
Sattler called on Democrats to stay strong in their stance not to offer any border wall funding, writing that, "Donald Trump's wall is Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate as a $25 billion budget item."
"And if Democrats reward him for birthering the entire country over the wall with what could soon be the longest partial government shutdown in American history, it will only fuel the racist fire Trump hopes to ride to re-election," he wrote.
Many others noted that Trump began his presidential campaign against a backdrop of racial prejudice, with his announcement speech calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" and accusing them of bringing in drugs and committing crimes.
Donald Trump has not yet shown any willingness to budge on his demand for more than $5 billion in funding to build a border wall, even as the government shutdown stretched into its third week, becoming the longest in American history. Trump had also floated the idea of declaring a national emergency in order to obtain the funding, but appears to have backed off of that idea amid bipartisan criticism.