Individuals on the left-liberal side of the political spectrum – be it in North America, Europe, or elsewhere – usually like to depict themselves as “tolerant,” “open-minded,” “inclusive,” and “pro-immigrant.” At the same time, they often portray anyone who supports rational and sensible things like border security and national sovereignty as allegedly “chauvinistic,” “xenophobic,” or even “racist.” The attacks by singer Bette Midler and other leftists on First Lady Melania Trump – an actual immigrant and the country’s first naturalized citizen first lady – following her speech at the Republican National Convention are thus a prime example of political hypocrisy.
An angry Midler tweeted out that Mrs. Trump “can speak several words in a few languages. Get that illegal alien off the stage!” She also mocked the First Lady’s accent: “Oh, God. She still can’t speak English.”
The tweets quickly backfired, as Midler faced a barrage of criticism from across the political spectrum, forcing the singer to subsequently walk back the comments. However, the reluctant semi-apology does little to change the xenophobic nature of her initial outbursts.
Other leftists piled on as well, including comedian Kathy Griffin calling the immigrant first lady a “b—,” and former NBA player Rex Chapman retweeting an image comparing Mrs. Trump’s dress to Adolf Hitler. (Never mind that her native Slovenia was actually a victim of Nazi German conquest and terror during the Second World War.)
Of course, attacks on the first lady – whether explicitly xenophobic or not – are nothing new. Only a few days before Mrs. Trump’s convention speech, former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald vented his fury and attacked her for renovating the White House Rose Garden, declaring that a “foreigner” has “no right to wreck our history.” Following an online backlash – including from liberals such as CNN’s Jake Tapper – Eichenwald begrudgingly deleted the statements in question and apologized, but – again – what has been said, cannot be unsaid.
As we have seen, some leftists and liberals admittedly pushed back against the above vicious, personal attacks against the first lady. However, the ease with which such statements sometimes spill out of leftists like Bette Midler – people who claim to be uber-tolerant and to adore the foreign-born – is truly astounding, and disturbing.
What it also suggests is that for many on the left their professions of love for immigrants amount to utilitarian and opportunistic virtue-signaling. They see the foreign-born as likely allies and reinforcements – not without reason – in the political struggle to implement a “progressive,” left-wing agenda.
But that “love” tends to be quite selective and conditional, for it usually does not extend to immigrants and naturalized citizens who are not on board with the leftist agenda – e.g. immigrants who agree with the majority of native-born Americans about the necessity of secure borders. In fact, many immigrants from former communist countries (including Mrs. Trump) are probably reminded of Marxist-Leninist regimes back home that claimed to love and rule in the name of “workers and peasants,” but quickly showed their contempt and resorted to bullying when actual workers and peasants were anything but obedient subjects of the socialist state. In Melania Trump’s specific case, the left’s dislike for her is also an extension of its hatred for her husband.