Donald Trump Freaks Out Because Syrian Refugees Have Cell Phones

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Donald Trump can insist, as he did Tuesday, that “We’re not talking about religion; we’re talking about security,” but really, we’re talking about religion. All those people he wants to ban from immigrating to the United States, all those refugees who are already here that he promises to kick out, worship Allah, after all, not Jesus.

It’s all about the religion. Don’t kid yourself.

And now Trump wants to know why those Allah-worshipers have cell phones. He was in Mesa, Arizona yesterday when he asked, repeating a concern he raised at the debate Tuesday,

“First of all, why are people in a migration having cell phones? It’s sort of strange. Who’s paying for those cell phones? Where are they coming from? Who are they calling? These are people — can you imagine, many, many, many cell phones. Where do they get cell phones? Who pays their monthly bill?”

He might as well have added the “hint, hint” because we all know what he is suggesting.

Has he heard of pay-as-you-go phones? Isn’t Trump supposed to be a savvy businessman? Of course, he probably knows all about phones you don’t need a contract to use, but that would undermine his fear-mongering, wouldn’t it?

I’m not which is more alarming, that the audience laughed as though Trump scored a point, or that Trump would think even saying something so ridiculous could count as a point. It is 2015. People have cell phones. They have families. They call those family members. What is so strange about that?

This is a sort of “create-an-argument” isn’t it? First, say something that is quite ordinary is strange, and then suggest sinister motives in place of rational, more commonplace explanations.

What Trump was reacting to was a report in a Norwegian newspaper that images of “severed heads” and “flags and symbols linked to terror group IS” were found on asylum seekers’ phones. Fair enough. But the paper also explains (and Trump willfully ignores this part),

“Head of the unit with responsibility for asylum, section chief, Erik Haugland, says it may be several reasons why you have such images on mobile.” Haugland then goes on to explain that people might wish to show what they have seen (there are also images of dead people, but after all, they are fleeing a war zone). In other words, there are perfectly logical explanations other than the sinister.

If you are a black American and you go to another country with a cell phone, and have on that phone photos of black people being brutalized by police, it would be perfectly natural. The people being beaten might even be your neighbors or members of your family. That doesn’t make you sinister, any more than does having photos of those doing the beating.

Trump’s performance is yet another example of his street corner rabble-rousing, with Muslims standing in for Jews, and it might be a scene out of 1930 Munich rather than 2015 Mesa. It has already been shown that Trump supporters would back him even if he proposed a “national registry of Jews.”

Trump claimed, “I have as big a heart as anybody here, I have as big a heart as anybody” but in the end, he said the Syrian refugees already here are “all going back” if he’s elected:

“So we’re not letting them come in, and if they are here when I get here, they’re all going back. They have to, they have to. They’re all going back.”

To cheers, no less.

Yes, that’s a big heart. To go with his big brain.

The only way Trump can be considered a winner is that he is very successfully peddling hate and fear and parlaying his demagoguery into a lead at the polls.

Wednesday, he even made people sound evil because they have cell phones. It’s hard to make that sound like an accomplishment, because it’s not. No more than is bragging about having the support of your fellow bigots.