Trump pushes economic hope, immigrant fear

Washington: With four days to save the Republican party’s grip on Congress — and his own dominance of US politics — Donald Trump unleashed his two main weapons on Friday: boasts about the economy and fear-mongering over immigration.
Democrats are forecast to capture the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections, threatening Trump with the spectre of an opposition finally able to block policies and dig into his highly opaque personal finances.
But the president, who has brought an unprecedented brand of populism and confrontational politics to the White House, clearly enjoys a fight.
He was flying on Friday to host rallies in West Virginia and Indiana, less than 24 hours after returning from another speech in Missouri. The day before it was Florida.
The frantic pace of Air Force One trips around the country will continue right through Monday. And positive job figures out on Friday gave Trump a golden opportunity to crow over what he near daily claims to be the world’s “hottest economy.”
“Wow! The US added 250,000 Jobs in October — and this was despite the hurricanes,” Trump heralded in a typically high-energy tweet. “Unemployment at 3.7%. Wages UP! These are incredible numbers. Keep it going, Vote Republican!”
Equally good news for Trump and his bid to spread that elusive voter feelgood factor was that wages appear to be strengthening — a sign that regular people may be enjoying the fruits of economic growth.
But if on one hand the president touts the United States as a land of plenty, with jobs for all, on the other he’s doing everything possible to stir fear and loathing.
Even as illegal immigration dips to a quarter of what it was in 2000, Trump claims that the country faces literally “an invasion” of Central Americans.
He has ordered regular army troops to the US-Mexican border, announced “tent cities” for detention of people demanding political asylum, and claimed power to scrap the right to citizenship for anyone born on US soil — a right until now considered to be protected by the constitution.
Referring to a group of a few thousand impoverished Central Americans currently trying to walk to the United States through Mexico, Trump says the nation could be “overwhelmed.” On Thursday, he said at the White House that soldiers would shoot migrants if they throw stones.
A few hours later at the Missouri rally, he painted the bizarre scenario of a dictator “who we hate and who’s against us” coming to the United States with his wife to “have a baby on American soil.”
Perhaps topping all his other efforts, Trump this week tweeted a campaign ad starring a clip of a real-life illegal immigrant named Luis Bracamontes who killed two sheriff’s deputies in California in 2014, then laughingly bragged about the murders in court.— AFP