Last Wednesday, Trump fired off a tweet complaining about the immigrant “revolution” he thinks is going on in California, sanctuary cities, crime, and border security. He also lamented about a “breeding concept” he evidently believes immigrants are using.
“There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept,” he wrote. “Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW!”
The use of the word “breeding” — a term usually reserved for nonhuman animals — has been used to dehumanize non-whites for hundreds of years. It was used by slaveowners, Nazis in Hitler’s Germany, the KKK, and countless other bigoted groups. It continues to be used by white supremacists to this day.
When White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked on Monday about Trump using the term, she couldn’t even come close to providing a clear answer.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders can't explain what Trump means by the phrase "breeding concept". pic.twitter.com/DV0jFXCrZ3
— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) April 23, 2018
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta was the first to bring up Trump’s tweet, asking Sanders if it was was intended to be a derogatory remark about Latinos.
Sanders responded, “No, he’s talking about the problem itself growing and getting bigger.”
When April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks was called on to ask a question, she raised the issue again.
“Again, the president has recognized that this is a major problem and a lot of people, even in California, want to see the issue of sanctuary cities addressed and the president’s doing what he can to do that,” Sanders said.
Not letting her off the hook, Ryan pressed Sanders on Trump’s use of the word “breeding” and specifically highlighted that it’s a term not usually applied in reference to human beings.
“What does ‘breeding’ mean to this president? Because when you think of ‘breeding,’ you think of animals breeding,” said Ryan.
“I’m not going to begin to think what you think,” Sanders said, interrupting Ryan. “Certainly I think that it could mean a lot of things to a lot of people. But the president is talking about a growing problem.”
Sanders dismisses a question about Trump's "breeding concept" tweet and whether he intended for it to be a racist dogwhistle pic.twitter.com/KS9R0DY4O4
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 23, 2018
When Playboy White House reporter Brian Karem asked Sanders if Trump was talking about immigrants “having babies,” Sanders could only say, “Not that I’m aware of, and I’d have to ask him to be more specific.”