Larry Elder: Trump Called ‘Racist’ for Saying ‘Invasion’ — Is it Still Racist When Sharpton Says It?

The perspectives and thoughts expressed in this op-ed are the exclusive purview of the author.

When former President Donald Trump during his time in office called the massive influx of illegal immigration an “invasion,” the media denounced him as “racist.”

Consider this headline in The Atlantic: “Why Trump Uses ‘Invasion’ to Describe Immigrants.”

The article ripped Trump’s “racist language”: “If you want to know the roots of the ‘immigration invasion’ rhetoric that President Donald Trump has championed time and again — and which was echoed in the racist manifesto linked to the man held for the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, last weekend — you can find them in the anti-Chinese diatribes that circulated on the West Coast a century and a half ago.”

CNN wrote: “Trump Shocks with Racist New Ad Days Before Midterms”: “The Trump ad also flashes to footage of the migrant caravan of Central American asylum seekers that is currently in Mexico, which Trump says is preparing an invasion of the United States, implying that everyone in the column of people fleeing repression, poverty and economic blight is bent on murder and serious crime on US soil.”

A Time Magazine headline read: “Donald Trump’s Anti-Immigration Rhetoric is Rooted in Racism. Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Was Never About Legality — It Was About Our Brown Skin.”

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But in a recent interview, MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, a left-wing flamethrower with impeccable Trump-hating credentials, pulled out the “I word.” Speaking to a stunned Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), one of the authors of a proposed immigration bill, Sharpton went full Trump: “You are seeing an influx of migrants all over the country that, frankly, have people outraged. … Why are you allowing this to continue? … I mean, we’re looking every day at the invasion of migrants, and they are playing a time game with politics on this?”

Neither The Atlantic, CNN, nor Time slammed Sharpton for his “racist rhetoric.”

On illegal immigration, many Democrats used to sound like Trump before Trump. In a 1993 speech, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid said: “If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right? Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides. And that’s a lot of services.” Reid later apologized.

In 2005, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama said: “We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked, and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently, and lawfully to become immigrants in this country.”

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In 2009, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said: “First, illegal immigration is wrong. And a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration. … People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who entered the U.S. legally.” Goodness, didn’t even say “undocumented.”

December 2023 set a record for monthly illegal entries at 371,000, an average of nearly 12,000 a day. In 2019, President Barack Obama’s former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said: “And I’d look at [the numbers] every morning, it be the first thing to look at … My staff will tell you if it under 1,000 apprehensions the day before, that was a relatively good number. If it was above 1,000 it was a relatively bad number and I was going to be in a bad mood all day.”

The top issue during the Iowa caucus was immigration. “60 Minutes” just ran a segment on illegal aliens using TikTok for a step-by-step guide on where and how to enter the country illegally. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deployed his state’s National Guard to defend its border. Several migrants beat up NYPD cops. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who once brazenly said, “our borders are not open,” barely dodged impeachment. And now, even Sharpton calls the unprecedented number of illegal entries an “invasion.”

Is Trump still a “racist”?

Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



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