Continuing his efforts to put a right-wing and racist spin on the welcoming message etched on the Statue of Liberty, President Donald Trump’s acting immigration chief Ken Cuccinelli told CNN Tuesday night that the famous poem by Emma Lazarus—”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free”—refers specifically to Europeans.
After CNN anchor Erin Burnett quoted directly from the poem, Cuccinelli claimed it is “referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class.”
As HuffPost‘s Sarah Ruiz-Grossman pointed out, however, the “poem itself describes the Statue of Liberty by saying, ‘From her beacon-hand/Glows world-wide welcome.'”
Watch Cuccinelli’s comments:
CNN's Erin Burnett challenges acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli on the Trump administration's new immigration regulation, saying her grandparents came to America with no education and that the rule would exclude people like her. pic.twitter.com/kyzZLpW5lj
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) August 13, 2019
Cuccinelli’s remarks in defense of the Trump administration’s so-called “public charge” rule—which would deny permanent residency to immigrants who have used public benefits like food stamps and housing assistance—sparked furious backlash, with progressives and presidential candidates slamming the comments as explicitly racist.
“Cuccinelli is just reciting white nationalist talking points verbatim here,” tweeted Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats.
Beto O’Rourke, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said Cuccinelli’s remarks amounted to an admission by the Trump administration of “what we’ve known all along.”
“They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people,” O’Rourke tweeted.
This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people. https://t.co/kTLl50yCmw
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 14, 2019
Cuccinelli’s CNN appearance came just hours after he rephrased Lazarus’ poem during an interview on NPR.
“Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” Cuccinelli said.
In response to Cuccinelli’s NPR interview, historian Annie Polland—executive director of the American Jewish Historical Society, which has the original manuscript of Lazarus’ poem—condemned Trump’s immigration chief for attempting to rewrite history in service of a xenophobic agenda.
“To see how something so expressive of the country’s greatest ideals, to see how it could be so contorted or distorted, is really, I think dismay is the only word,” Polland told HuffPost.
WATCH: Town hall crowd explodes into applause as New Jersey lawmaker announces he will vote for Trump impeachment
On Sunday morning CNN aired a clip of Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) announcing before a town hall crowd on Saturday that he will vote for the impeachment of Donald Trump -- causing some of the audience members to explode into applause over his decision.
In the clip, the lawmaker explains, "Based on the evidence I have seen in the depositions, the hearings and the documents I've seen, I believe on the two counts of impeachment that the vote that has been put before us, that the vote should be yes, and I will be voting yes."
With that, the crowd burst into cheers with some leaping from their seats.
Fox News lying to defend Trump makes it a threat to US national security: CNN contributor
Fox News a threat to American democracy and national security, a CNN contributor explained on Saturday.
Garrett Graff was interviewed by CNN's Ana Cabrera about a new piece he wrote for Wired titled, "Fox News Is Now a Threat to National Security."
"Monday’s split-screen drama, as the House Judiciary Committee weighed impeachment charges against President Trump and as the Justice Department’s inspector general released a 476-page report on the FBI’s handling of its 2016 investigation into Trump’s campaign, made one truth of the modern world inescapable: The lies and obfuscations forwarded ad infinitum on Fox News pose a dangerous threat to the national security of the United States," he wrote.
Lindsey Graham admits nothing will change his mind on Trump impeachment: ‘I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror’
In an interview with CNN International's Becky Anderson at the Doha Forum in Qatar, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) admitted he has no plans to look at the evidence compiled against Donald Trump from the House impeachment inquiry when it is referred to the Senate.
The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee explained that he wants the trial to be quick and that expects nothing to come of it, with the GOP solidly behind fighting impeachment of the president.
During the interview Graham stated, "This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly."