Much of this week was taken up by speculation whether President Donald Trump would give in and sign the compromise bill the GOP brokered with Democrats, and face the wrath of Fox News, or veto it and cause a second government shutdown. Trump now thinks he has a perfect plan to have his cake and eat it too: sign the bill, preventing another shutdown, but also declaring a national emergency and building the wall by executive fiat, pleasing his nativist base.
Unfortunately, his plan isn’t off to a great start. Lawsuits are already in the works, his own Justice Department admits the courts will put it on hold, and some of the people who hated the compromise, like Ann Coulter, have dismissed it as a “scam.” And Trump was not the only Republican politician to have a bumpy few days.
Here are five of the craziest right-wing moments this week:
- Drew Ferguson displays book in his office saying black people are better off as slaves.
Notwithstanding the ongoing popularity of the Confederate battle flag in certain circles, it is not common in the modern political era to see politicians display openly pro-slavery content. Enter Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA).
According to the American Federation of Government Employees, union members who visited Ferguson’s offices on Monday noticed he had a lobby display of the 1897 pro-Confederate book, “Gen. Robert Edward Lee: Soldier, Citizen, and Christian Patriot.” The book was open to a passage that read, “The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, societally, and physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their instruction as a race.”
Ferguson claimed that the book had been installed by his staffers without his knowledge, and that when the union members pointed it out, they apologized and removed it. AFGE, however, disputes this version of events, claiming that a staffer “ignored the question and instead pointed [union members] to look at General George Washington’s hair that was also on display.”
- Trump’s former ICE chief says Democrats have made the drug cartels “fat with money.”
Few people have less moral authority on immigration than Thomas Homan, Trump’s former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Under his management, ICE agents targeted churches, political activists, and even a battered woman testifying in court. He even gave a speech to an anti-immigrant hate group while in office. But that hasn’t stopped Fox News from putting him on air as an immigration analyst — and on Monday, “Fox & Friends” let him deliver a blatantly partisan screed in the guise of law enforcement expertise.
“These criminal organizations, the cartels, they’re getting fat with money and the Democrats are helping them,” said Homan. “They don’t need a PR campaign. They got the Democrats doing it for them. I mean, when you can’t detain somebody and you can’t, you know, hold somebody to see a judge, why not? I mean, there’s no consequence, no deterrence.”
If Homan wants to talk about making sure judges can process immigration cases, he might want to note that Democrats, under President Obama, created a highly successful family case management program for migrants, and ICE eliminated it on his watch.
- Dan Patrick says without a border fence, we’ll have corpses hanging from bridges and severed heads in pool halls.
But Homan’s rant might not even be the most over-the-top rhetoric about the border this week — that honor might go to Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. At Trump’s El Paso rally on Tuesday, Patrick told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, in gruesome detail, how the city would be full of corpses and beheadings if not for a border barrier.
“If this fence were not here, that violence — of decapitating people, of hanging people from bridges, of cutting off their heads and rolling them in pool halls and down the streets — that violence would be here in El Paso,” said Patrick.