Reports that President Trump employs undocumented immigrants at his properties are prompting his critics to condemn him as a hypocrite.
According to a story first reported by the New York Times, the man who launched his presidential campaign so appalled by undocumented immigrants' presence in the American workforce that he wanted to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to keep them out reportedly relies on those same people to make his bed.
In an interview with the Times, a woman working as a housekeeper at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., revealed that she is an undocumented immigrant.
Victorina Morales, 45, who has worked at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster for five years, said she is from Guatemala and had entered the United States illegally. She said she presented phony identification documents to be hired at the club. The Times reported that there is no evidence that Trump or his organization were aware of the immigration status of Morales or other undocumented employees, but Morales and a colleague claim that at least two supervisors helped the workers keep their jobs by avoiding detection.
Morales told The Washington Post on Thursday that she had not been fired and had not heard from her employer since the Times published its article, but that she did not plan to go to work Friday, as scheduled.
But while the revelations by Morales and others like her, according to the Times report, may seem to be the latest example of inconsistency, if not outright hypocrisy, in Trump’s personal and business conduct, they are not necessarily shocking.
It is not uncommon for presidents to be found doing things that appear to conflict with what they campaigned against. The funeral of George H.W. Bush this week has prompted reflections on the former president’s long career in public office — including his decision to raise taxes after claiming to be so against such a move that he told voters to “read my lips” while promising not to raise taxes.
And Trump, who promised to be so busy making America great again that he would not have time to golf as much as his predecessor, has golfed more than President Barack Obama did while in office.
This week has also served as a reminder that the candidate who campaigned on forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall in fact has asked taxpayers to bear the costs. That failed promise even attracted the criticism of Tucker Carlson, the conservative host of a popular show on Fox News.
“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, defund Planned Parenthood and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things,” Carlson reportedly said.
“He knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn’t done all the things you need to do, so it’s mostly his fault that he hasn’t achieved those things,” he said.
Trump has repeatedly shown that he is willing to do many of the things he told his supporters he would not. Despite promising to be a president who would return jobs to Americans who have lost them, supposedly, to immigrants, Trump has on multiple occasions appeared to prioritize employing people who are not U.S. citizens.
The Post’s David Fahrenthold reported in July that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club asked permission to hire nearly 80 foreign workers to ramp up the resort’s winter social season staff of cooks, waiters and housekeepers, according to Labor Department data.
While this would likely hurt many politicians, Trump continues to enjoy high approval from his base of support in the GOP. His approval rating among Republicans is 89 percent, according to Gallup.
This suggests that honoring promises or even “draining the swamp” (and the ways of Washington) was not what Trump supporters wanted most from the president. Many of them appear to simply have wanted a fighter — someone who would push back against the liberal advances made by the Obama administration, constantly attack the media and be uncompromising when engaging Democrats and even conservatives who did not support Trumpism. These things may win Trump points with his base, but the people affected by Trump’s inconsistencies don’t seem to be as “tired of winning,” as defined by Trump, as the president once promised Americans they would be.
Morales told The Post that she decided to come forward because of mistreatment by her direct supervisor at the golf resort, including what she described as “physical abuse” on three occasions.
“I’m tired of being humiliated and treated like a stupid person,” she said. “We’re just immigrants who don’t have papers.”
The president’s response to the revelation that his actions and words do not align well when it comes to immigration is not likely to cost him much with those who agree with him most. But the 2018 midterms were a reminder that most voting Americans do not back Trump and the politicians who support him — perhaps especially with respect to their immigration philosophy.
After losing the House to his political rivals and seeing his approval ratings remain low, it is safe to conclude that this story is not likely to boost support for Trump anytime soon — or confidence that his reelection campaign slogan, “Promises Kept,” is credible.