U.S. President Donald Trump rallied supporters in Minnesota over the weekend with a promise to prosecute local Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, while offering praise for the “good genes” of his supporters in the state.
“You have good genes, you know that, right? You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it, don't you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”
The “racehorse theory” is the idea that some human beings are born genetically superior to others. Halie Soifer, the Executive Director of The Jewish Democratic Council of America, slammed Trump’s comments, saying, “Again, Trump speaks about having "good genes." He mentioned the "racehorse theory" and coupled it with a racist rant against refugees."
Soifer continued, "This is eugenics. It was used by Nazis to justify genocide. Today, it's used by white nationalists - & apparently the @POTUS - to justify hate.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper responded with the comment, “Who has bad genes, Mr. President?”
Author and historian Steve Silberman added: “As a historian who has written about the Holocaust, I'll say bluntly: This is indistinguishable from the Nazi rhetoric that led to Jews, disabled people, LGBTQ, Romani and others being exterminated. This is America 2020. This is where the GOP has taken us.”
During the rally Trump also claimed that Minnesota would be flooded with refugees if Democrat Joe Biden won the White House. He lashed out at liberal Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. He also talked Big Ten football.
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Toward the end, he told the crowd that the winner of the Nov. 3 election would be certain to have the chance to pick one or more justices, seemingly unaware of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
At one point, a Trump supporter alerted those around him that he had just received a news alert on his phone that Ginsburg had died. “Really?” responded a man wearing a camouflage Trump hat. Those nearby briefly turned their gaze away from the president’s speech and to the man with the iPhone.
A few minutes later, Trump would turn his own attention to the high court, something he frequently does during his speeches, to talk about remaking the judiciary with his appointment of more than 200 federal judges and two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. As Trump told the audience that the winner of the November election might have the chance to appoint multiple justices, one man shouted at the president, “One more, one more!”
Trump reminded the audience that earlier this month he had released an updated list of conservatives who would be under consideration for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should he be given the opportunity.
He noted that among those on his list was Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican he vanquished in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
Trump joked that Cruz would get the backing of every Republican and Democrat, because they’d be happy to be rid of Texas’ junior senator, implying that his personality has rubbed some of his colleagues the wrong way.
As Trump moved on to other topics, White House aides were reacting to Ginsberg’s death.
White House adviser Ben Williamson took to Twitter to say the White House flag had been lowered to half-staff to honor Ginsburg. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tweeted his condolences to the late justice’s family and loved ones.
Trump didn’t speak with the White House reporters traveling on Air Force One during his return trip to Washington, as he frequently does during his travels. But shortly before landing, he issued a statement praising Ginsburg for her “brilliant mind and her powerful dissents” and her ability to “disagree without being disagreeable.”
“May her memory be a great and magnificent blessing to the world,” Trump said, speaking with unusual respect for a political foe.
Biden’s plane landed at New Castle Airport in Delaware moments after his press plane had arrived. Aides scurried to set up a place for Biden to make a statement away from the noise of the aircraft’s engines.
“You all learned, as I did on this flight, very sad news,” he said.
“Let me be clear, voters should pick the president, the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said.
He concluded, “Thank you all and I’m sorry such a ... .” He paused but didn’t finish the sentence, simply adding, “You had to learn it on a plane ride.”