For those who haven’t already reached for Google translate, the sign reads: “Donald Trump, he can’t read this, but he is afraid of it.”
The billboard is the latest ad from the Nuisance Committee, an anti-Trump political action committee founded by the people who came up with the game Cards Against Humanity. The committee has been poking fun at Trump’s policies, temperament and statements since September.
The Arabic sign towers over Detroit near neighboring Dearborn, a strategic spot. Michigan is a swing state where 43.6 percent favor Hillary Clinton in a recent Suffolk poll and 37.2 percent said they’d probably vote for Trump. And in Dearborn, about 30 percent of the population is Arab American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The group has been in Trump’s crosshairs this campaign season. Trump has called for a temporary ban on all Muslims who want to come into the United States. He has said that racial profiling may be necessary.
“We wanted to do a campaign focused on Trump’s painful rhetoric toward immigrants,” Nuisance Committee spokeswoman Melissa Harris told The Washington Post. “But we wanted to use humor to motivate people. We didn’t want to meet cruelty and meanness with cruelty and meanness. We wanted to offer something different.”
Arabic speakers got the joke — and the deeper meaning.
“I chuckled,” Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Detroit News. “I laughed. Duh. This is how people feel in the community. It’s mocking Trump. It’s funny yet very appropriate considering the nonsense Donald Trump has continued to say about Muslims.”
“Donald Trump has been a fear-monger about communities he really doesn’t know,” Walid continued. “What I’ve been hearing on the streets of Detroit and Dearborn . . . I have not spoken to a person yet that they’re going to vote for [Trump] in this upcoming election. The general statements are he’s just a racist bigot and not just against people of the Islamic faith, but he made comments against Latinos and women.”
The Nuisance Committee has taken out similar needling signs across the country in its attempts to defeat Trump’s bid for the presidency.
A billboard outside Chicago jokes about Trump’s tax controversy. A report in the New York Times this month said Trump could have used a $916 million loss in 1995 to avoid paying taxes for up to 18 years.
“If Trump is so rich, how come he didn’t buy this billboard,” the Nuisance Committee’s sign says.
Trying to grab the attention of younger voters, the committee took out a billboard in Orlando that says “Donald Trump Mains Hanzo and complains about team comp in chat.”
It’s an inside joke among people who play the video game “Overwatch.” Hanzo is an inflexible character from the team-based game, where everyone has to communicate on strategy to succeed.
The I-94 billboard near Dearborn joins similar serious-but-funny attempts across the country to poke at Trump.
In August, for example, members of the anarchist collective INDECLINE unveiled life-size statues of Trump in the nude in public spaces in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle.
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