Vox: Trump’s Offensive Praise of a Latino Border Patrol Agent

On Monday, President Donald Trump delivered a speech in tribute to officers of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection. However, according to Vox, his way of honoring the front-line agents enforcing his immigration agenda got a little weird when he ended up reassuring the audience that a Latino Border Patrol officer onstage with him “speaks perfect English.”

Trump was telling the story of a Border Patrol agent he identified as “Adrian” — subsequently identified by Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg as Adrian Anzaldua. He’s the agent who discovered 78 immigrants locked in the hold of a refrigerated truck in Laredo, Texas, in April. In the middle of telling his story, Trump decided to invite Anzaldua up to speak for himself. Anzaldua hesitated, and that’s when things got awkward. Turning to the audience, Trump remarked that Anzaldua “speaks perfect English.”

But why exactly did Trump feel the need to remark on Anzaldua’s English fluency to the audience, as if they might have been concerned or confused, Vox asks.

According to Vox, most politicians would probably hesitate before using a stock line about speaking “perfect English” to refer to a visibly Latino agent with a Spanish surname. They would probably be doubly hesitant about doing this during an event about immigration policy, and they would probably be quadruply hesitant about doing this during an event about immigration policy if their immigration agenda was widely criticized as racist toward Latinos, Vox notes.

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