It brings me absolutely no joy to say this, but shouty Fox News man Tucker Carlson said a (basically) true thing on his Thursday show while discussing Donald Trump’s infamous “shithole countries” comments.
Today, as you doubtless heard, during immigration talks, President Trump said something that almost every single person in America actually agrees with—an awful lot of immigrants come to this country from other places that aren’t very nice. Those places are dangerous, they’re dirty, they’re corrupt, and they’re poor, and that’s the main reason those immigrants are trying to come here, and you would, too, if you lived there.
President Trump asked why American doesn’t receive more immigrants from countries you might want to visit on vacation.
Saying “every single person in America” agreed with Trump’s racist comments was, of course, an overstatement on Carlson’s part. But the core of what he’s saying is accurate: Trump’s most ardent supporters do agree with their president.
The soundbite that the media simply can’t get enough of—and, occasionally, is denouncing as baldly bigoted—will likely do him no harm in Trump country. That’s because every racist, half-baked thing Trump says plays well among many of the millions of people who voted for him, still support him, and respect him for being bold enough to say the quiet part loud.
Here is a collection of data points:
- Although the media loves a story about the repentant Trump voter who’s realized he’s a nightmare only after they’ve lost their healthcare or a beloved immigrant neighbor is deported, they are a rarity. One year after the election, a stunning 82% of Trump voters said that hell yes they’d vote for him again.
- More than 60% of Trump voters said they couldn’t conceive of anything that would ever, ever make them jump off the Trump train, no matter what hellish, nonsensical thing he throws at us next.
- The majority of Americans still approve of Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from six predominantly Muslim countries—perhaps his most nakedly xenophobic policy measure to date.
- Trump has been nothing if not consistently adept at capitalizing on white America’s racial animus. Almost 70% of Republicans said they approved of the president’s “both sides” response to Nazis marching on Charlottesville, and white Americans strongly disapproved of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality.
This is all to say: While Trump’s comments were perceived as blatantly racist among the people I know and interact with in my East Coast bubble, plenty of Americans are still nodding right along with him—and show no signs of breaking with Trump anytime soon.