Fox Figures Lead The Charge Praising Trump's Immigrant Smears For Igniting National Immigration Debate

››› ››› RACHEL CALVERT

Fox News personalities and right-wing radio hosts are crediting Donald Trump with focusing national media attention on sanctuary cities and immigration with his incendiary comments that characterized immigrants as criminals and "rapists" -- leading Trump to brag about Fox's laudatory coverage of his racist remarks.

Trump Describes Mexican Immigrants As Criminals And "Rapists"

Trump: "When Mexico Sends Its People ... They're Bringing Drugs. They're Bringing Crime. They're Rapists." Donald Trump characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and "rapists," saying that "the U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," during his presidential campaign announcement speech on June 16:

TRUMP: The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems.

Thank you. It's true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we're getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They're sending us not the right people. [Time, 6/16/15]

Trump Says "Infectious Disease Is Pouring Across Border" After Undocumented Immigrant Arrested For Murder Of San Francisco Woman. Trump doubled down on his previous comments in a July 7 statement invoking the murder of a San Francisco woman. The Hill reported:

Trump issued a lengthy -- nearly 900 word -- statement invoking the death of a San Francisco woman shot and killed last week by a suspect who had previously been deported to Mexico five times.

"This is merely one of thousands of similar incidents throughout the United States," Trump said Monday. "In other words, the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government."

The 2016 Republican presidential candidate said Mexican drug cartels are using immigrants to smuggle heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs into the United States.

"The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border," Trump continued. [The Hill7/6/15]

Fox News Hosts Lead Charge To Credit Trump With Igniting Immigration Debate 

Fox's O'Reilly: Maybe Trump Was Inartfully "Highlighting A Problem ... That Is Harming The Nation." On the June 29 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly justified Trump's vitriol, saying he was just inartfully "highlighting a problem ... that is harming the nation, and just didn't speak to it in a specific way -- I don't think Donald Trump was trying to demonize all Mexican people. I think he was trying to show that the present administration and the country itself doesn't have the will to stop the carnage." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor6/29/15]

Fox's Crowley: Trump "Is Saying Things That Need To Be Said." On the July 2 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, network contributor Monica Crowley instructed GOP presidential candidates to follow Trump's lead on immigration, arguing that Trump "is saying things that need to be said." [Fox News, America's Newsroom7/2/15]

Fox's Hasselbeck: In Wake Of Trump's Comments "Some Are Bending Their Opinions" After Hearing Immigration Statistics. On the July 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, host Elisabeth Hasselbeck said that while Donald Trump, "initially fac[ed] backlash for his comments about illegal immigrants coming from Mexico," the substance of his remarks is resonating with people: "When you start to hear the statistics, some people are bending their opinions." [Fox News, Fox & Friends7/9/15]

Fox's Doocy: "We're Talking About This Because Donald Trump Brought This Up As A Campaign Issue." On the July 9 edition of Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy credited Trump with pushing the network to cover immigration:  

DOOCY: You know why it's so confusing? It's because, you know, while we're talking about this guy --  It happens every day out there. Because of the sanctuary city laws, and we heard yesterday 200 different cities all across the country -- everybody's got different laws. The reason we're talking about this at all, because it happens all the time, and sadly people are murdered all the time by illegalsas we have detailed on this program. We're talking about this because Donald Trump brought this up as a campaign issue. As it turns out, this weekend he's going to be meeting with a man whose son was killed by an illegal. And he's also going to be making a speech, at a private event for Clint Eastwood, and then he's going to go to Freedom Fest in Arizona, and on top of that he told NBC yesterday that he's going to wind up winning the Latino vote! [Fox News, Fox & Friends7/9/15]

Right-Wing Radio Hosts Follow Suit, Applaud Trump For Changing The Debate And Resonating With GOP Voters

Ingraham: Trump's Surge Due To Public Relief That "Finally, Someone Is Taking On Bush." On the June 9 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Laura Ingraham credited Trump's popularity with his immigration comments, saying GOP voters are relieved that a candidate is "channeling our frustration with the system":

DOOCY: Donald Trump is now number one in North Carolina and love him or hate him, he is the reason we're talking about illegal immigration because of his comments a couple of weeks ago. What is it about Donald Trump that so many people are going, "I hadn't thought about him before, but now he's really talking to me!"

INGRAHAM: This is what happens when you actually say, and channel the frustration of regular people. I think most people who tend to be Republicans, feel like Republican leadership campaigned on one thing: resisting Obama on Obamacare, executive amnesty, stopping Obama's march across the executive order landscape -- and Republicans have basically done Obamatrade - they've given Obama a big gift on trade. So people are really frustrated because they feel like 'okay, we put our trust in republicans, and yet, they repay us by saying we can't do anything on Obamacare, can't do anything on executive amnesty, we don't have time for tax reform this year' ... Trump is surging not because necessarily he'll be the nominee, but he's surging because people are saying, 'Finally, somebody is both taking on JebBush and whether Bush is the right person for the party, and also someone is channeling our frustration with the system.' He might be blunt, he might be inartful at times, but he is channeling the viewpoints of I would say the majority of Republican voters. So Trump isn't the problem with the brand,the Republican Party is the problem with the Republican brand. [Fox News, Fox & Friends7/9/15]

Limbaugh Praises Trump's "Blinding Achievement" In "Chang[ing] The Entire Debate." On the July 8 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh observed that he and Trump say "similar things" about immigrants before praising him for having "changed the entire debate." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show7/8/15]

Michael Berry Praises Trump For Appealing To GOP Base, Demonstrating "An Understanding Of The Marketplace That Most Politicians Don't Have." On the July 9 edition of iHeartRadio's The Michael Berry Show, syndicated radio host Michael Berry argued that Trump's immigration comments have tapped into an important public sentiment among the GOP base, demonstrating "an understanding of the marketplace that frankly most politicians don't have":

BERRY: You want them to think you care about them at election time, and then once you're elected, you go and do what you want to because the people you want to be close to once you're in office are the exact opposite of the Tea Party base that got you elected. And so you can kind of spit on the base until just late enough in the game, and then you pull out the old gay marriage thing -- the homos are coming to get you - the problem is people are sick of it. And the other problem is, this illegal immigration thing is getting so  bad ... it is no longer something that the public is willing to ignore. Everybody has been affected in one way or another by illegal immigration. Everybody. And that's becoming a real serious issue. And that's what Donald Trump has tapped into. That's an understanding of the marketplace that frankly most politicians don't have. [iHeartRadio, The Michael Berry Show7/9/15]

Trump Praises Fox News' Laudatory Coverage Of His Incendiary Immigration Remarks

Trump: "On Fox They Say That I Did A Great Service Because I'm The One That Brought Up The Whole Discussion On Immigration." On the July 8 edition of MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes, Trump said he is "helping the party greatly," referencing the Fox News consensus that "I did a great service because I'm the one that brought up the whole discussion on immigration":

KATY TUR: Republicans say that you're hurting the party. Do you think you're hurting the party? If you divide them so severely will you be able to get the nomination and then become president?

TRUMP: Well on Fox they say that I did a great service because I'm the one that brought up the whole discussion on immigration. And I think I'm helping the party greatly.

[...]

TUR: Illegal immigrants commit less crime other than coming through illegally.

TRUMP: I'm talking about illegal immigrants, are causing tremendous crime, tremendous crime, and nobody wants to talk about it, and that's why Fox, at least Fox, and you won't leave this perhaps, at least Fox is being honest because they're now talking about it bigly. And if I didn't bring up this subject a number of weeks ago, we wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration right now. [MSNBC, All In with Chris Hayes7/8/15]

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