Donald Trump’s visit to L.A. today involves two ironies. The first is that he’s coming to the city with the most Mexican immigrants in the country, when his political speech focuses on attacking and despising them. Second, his resentful populism is welcomed by an organization named after Abraham Lincoln, the Republican president who believed so much in respecting human beings that he fought against slavery.
Friends of Abe is a conservative organization whose creators are from the Hollywood arts scene, and it keeps a low profile in order to go unnoticed in a mainly liberal, and at times intolerant, environment. That is fine.
What is unusual is that it bears Lincoln’s first name when it has had guests like former Rep. Michelle Bachmann and commentators like Glenn Beck and Anne Coulter, who are known for lies that are confused with racism. Surely Lincoln is turning over in his grave because of what the Republican Party has become today to allow so much hatred. If he could only see how those “friends” of his rant and rave against immigrants, and then eat in luxurious restaurants served by those same immigrants.
With that guest list, it makes sense that now it is Trump’s turn to bring them his world of exaggerations, lies and nonsense (“I will win the Latino vote”). What is unfortunate is that his message resonates with the party base, enough for the New Yorker to lead in the polls among Republicans in North Carolina. The millionaire went from being ignored to having the Republicans now asking him to lower his rhetoric about immigrants. It is tough to stop someone who reaps in the presidential campaign what has been sown as anti-immigrant resentment in Congress for years.
Trump has the right to say what he wants and these friends to welcome him. But let’s be clear: Trump is not welcome in Los Angeles. He insulted Mexican immigrants, who are a majority in this city, and his speech, which is disconnected from reality, is part of a demagoguery that distorts democracy.
Poor Abe, with friends who invite Trump, Coulter and Beck to their table to hear messages of intolerance that go against what this national hero stands for. With friends like these, who needs enemies?