President Trump’s reality TV presidency probed strange, new boundaries of experimental political theater on Tuesday night.
Moments after Trump made television history by handing a full pardon to a bank robber on TV, he followed up by overseeing a citizenship ceremony for five immigrants in the middle of the Republican National Convention.
Trump is redefining the GOP presidential convention this week to suit his mercurial personal style, using official government acts as set pieces in his televised pitch for a second term.
This time, he’s minting new Americans on national television.
In a pre-recorded clip, Trump strolled into the room to the tune of Hail to the Chief. Then he watched his controversial acting secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, administer the oath to five immigrants as if it were a scene in a presidential variety show.
“Congratulations, you’re now citizens of the United States of America,” Trump declared.
Wolf then commended Trump for his dedication to the rule of law, a comment that carried a pointed irony. Wolf’s own standing at helm of the Department of Homeland Security was recently deemed illegal by the Government Accountability Office, before Trump formally nominated him to the post days ago
“Today America rejoices as we welcome five absolutely incredible new members into our American family,” Trump said.
“Congratulations,” Trump continued. “Great going.”
Trump has famously positioned his presidency by making it harder for immigrants of almost all stripes to become Americans. He kicked off his original campaign for the presidency by decrying Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” virtually halted the asylum process, and more recently, his administration attempted to kick foreign students out of the country unless they agreed to attend classes in person instead of online.
Cover: President Trump participates in a swearing-in ceremony in the White House during the Republican National Convention Aug. 25, 2020. (Republican National Committee)