'Just Reciting White Nationalist Talking Points': Trump Immigration Chief Says Statue of Liberty Poem Only About Europeans
Continuing his efforts to put a right-wing and racist spin on the welcoming message etched on the Statue of Liberty, President Donald Trump’s acting immigration chief Ken Cuccinelli told CNN Tuesday night that the famous poem by Emma Lazarus—”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free”—refers specifically to Europeans.
After CNN anchor Erin Burnett quoted directly from the poem, Cuccinelli claimed it is “referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class.”
As HuffPost‘s Sarah Ruiz-Grossman pointed out, however, the “poem itself describes the Statue of Liberty by saying, ‘From her beacon-hand/Glows world-wide welcome.'”
Watch Cuccinelli’s comments:
Cuccinelli’s remarks in defense of the Trump administration’s so-called “public charge” rule—which would deny permanent residency to immigrants who have used public benefits like food stamps and housing assistance—sparked furious backlash, with progressives and presidential candidates slamming the comments as explicitly racist.
“Cuccinelli is just reciting white nationalist talking points verbatim here,” tweeted Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats.
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