April 5th, 2024

In The News

Rep. Kiggans Silent as Trump Dehumanizes Immigrants with ‘Not People’ and ‘Animals’ Rhetoric and Calls for ‘Bloodbath’ If He Loses Election

Donald Trump kicked off his 2016 presidential campaign by descending the escalators of Trump Tower and calling Mexicans criminals and “rapists.” But as he has done throughout the past decade, Trump has found new lows to dehumanize communities. During a campaign stop in Ohio in mid-March in support of Senate candidate Bernie Moreno, Trump referred to immigrants as “animals” and stated that they aren’t even human beings. “I don’t know if you call them people,” he said. “In some cases they’re not people, in my opinion.”

This is textbook dehumanization. History shows that it is this sort of dehumanization that leads to political violence. Nor was the former President all that coy about the violence he expects on his behalf.

The presumptive Republican nominee for president then shockingly promised that the nation will see a “bloodbath” if he doesn’t win the election in November. But despite his ever-escalating dehumanization of immigrant families and clear calls to his supporters to carry out political violence in his name if the election results don’t go their way, Rep. Jen Kiggans (VA-02) has remained silent.

This isn’t the first time that Rep. Kiggans has failed to condemn dehumanizing or inciteful rhetoric. Earlier this year, Rep. Kiggans said nothing when Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott publicly lamented that the state couldn’t shoot and kill migrants on sight at the southern border. Rep. Kiggans has also failed to condemn Trump’s despicable claims that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of America. This incendiary language is virtually indistinguishable from Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric. But when given the chance to distance himself or disavow this horrific Nazi language, Trump instead doubled down and repeated outlandish lies that have become customary at his rallies.

Trump’s defenders have cried context, generously giving him the benefit of the doubt by claiming that the “bloodbath” comment was concerning the auto industry. But this is a man who has already inspired deadly political violence when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the rightful results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump inspired violence long before January 6, when two Boston brothers assaulted a Latino man in August 2015, just weeks after he descended the Trump Tower escalators to attack Mexicans as part of his 2016 launch. “One of the brothers later told police that Trump ‘was right’ about deporting ‘all these illegals,’” CBS News reported in 2016.

This history, coupled with Trump’s years-long dehumanization of immigrants, has predictable downstream outcomes and provokes more violence against immigrants. Yet Rep. Kiggans has been silent. Sadly, this is not surprising because Rep. Kiggans has never rebuked other GOP leaders like Speaker Mike Johnson, fourth-ranking House Republican Elise Stefanik, and other GOP friends for echoing white nationalist conspiracy theories linked to racist mass murderers.

None of this is normal – and Rep. Kiggans is being complicit by failing to condemn violent and dehumanizing language that already has a body count in the U.S. and harkens back to one of the darkest eras in world history.