President Donald Trump’s election has coincided with a surge in racist bullying in which white children often invoke the president while tormenting minority students.
The Washington Post reports that Trump has been invoked by racist school bullies hundreds of times over the past four years — and those are just the times that have been documented by local news stories.
“Although many hateful episodes garnered coverage just after the election, The Post found that Trump-connected persecution of children has never stopped,” the publication writes. “Even without the huge total from November 2016, an average of nearly two incidents per school week have been publicly reported over the past four years.”
Ashanty Bonilla, a 17-year-old Mexican American high school student from Idaho, tells the Post that students at her school frequently invoke the president to justify bullying her.
“It’s gotten way worse since Trump got elected,” she said. “They hear it. They think it’s okay. The president says it… Why can’t they?”
The Post also interviewed a Mexican-American student named Cielo Castor, who had to put up with Trump supporting classmates chanting “Build that wall!” at her during a football game.
“I felt like I was personally attacked,” she tells the Post. “And it wasn’t like they were attacking my character. They were attacking my ethnicity, and it’s not like I can do anything about that.”
Attorney Daniel Santiago, who represents a woman who was savagely beaten by a Trump supporter, tells the Post that the president’s racist attacks are being repeated all over the country.
“When the president goes on TV and is saying things like Mexicans are rapists, Mexicans are criminals — these children don’t have the cognitive ability to say, ‘He’s just playing the role of a politician,'” Santiago said. “The language that he’s using matters.”