There is a whole lot to unpack from the spectacle of poo-flinging children that CNN laughingly tried to tell us was a Republican primary debate. One thing that may have got lost in all the noise and confusion was GOP Presidential frontrunner and stubby-fingered orangutan Donald Trump defending his practice of hiring foreign guest workers at his resorts.
Yes. The man who has risen to the top of the GOP heap based on his xenophobic rants against undocumented immigrants and brown people of all kind was cornered for a short while by Marco Rubio, who repeated a recent New York Times piece revealing that Trump has favored hiring foreigners over American citizens at his Florida golf club. However, because the debate was actually a WWE PPV, we moved on from that to focus on some other matches, including the main event three-way between Rubio, Trump and Ted Cruz.
After the debate, CNN had plenty of opportunities to ask The Donald about this issue, considering Chris Cuomo nabbed him for an obviously pre-planned 10-minute interview and Anderson Cooper and Co. got him a half-hour after that. Of course, being that cable news has morphed into a combination of pro wrestling, reality TV show recaps, Wendy Williams and Jerry Springer, the network’s panelists and anchors did little in the way of pressing the celebrity billionaire on this stunning bit of hypocrisy.
Speaking to Cooper and a panel that included Nia-Malika Henderson and John King, Trump reiterated what he said during the debate — he needed to hire guest workers rather than Americans because it was the “busy season,” and there was a shortage of labor in the area. Despite the fact that these are Very Serious Journalists, the answer was taken at face value and they moved on.
Trump on CNN just now saying he has brought in foreign workers for jobs because “you can’t get American people” to do the jobs
— Jon Ward (@jonward11) February 26, 2016
CNN panel is the worst. Trump thinks unemployment’s at 42% but gets a pass saying he has to hire foreign workers cuz he can’t find any in US
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) February 26, 2016
Now, if CNN and the rest of cable news were actually serious and not just worried about placating the star attraction of the current freak show, we would have seen a couple of follow-up questions after Trump’s bullshit response.
One easy one would have been to cite the NYT piece about the club’s hiring practices, which showed that roughly 300 U.S. residents have applied for jobs at Mar-A-Lago since 2010, but only 17 have been hired. Meanwhile, Trump requested more than 500 foreign worker visas during that same period for the resort. So, why didn’t we hear Anderson or one of the others ask, “Donald, you say you had to hire foreigners because you couldn’t find any Americans to fill the jobs…what about the 300 people that applied?”
Also, Trump has pushed the notion that the country’s unemployment rate isn’t under 5%, but is actually more like 42%, parroting a meme from far-right talk radio. Why didn’t we see one of the panelists take him to task about his belief in this super-high UE rate while simultaneously claiming he can’t find any American workers?
It isn’t that hard to do. It really isn’t. But in this environment, it just ain’t happenin’.