By The Editorial Board
A presidential campaign that thrives on dividing people came to a city that strives to be united.
Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump came to Portland Thursday and attacked innocent people who have never done him any harm. It may not be a new low for his campaign, but that’s just because low blows are the only kind he throws.
Buried in his rambling hour-long address at the Merrill Auditorium, Trump took the time to smear refugees from Somalia, suggesting that they pose a threat to the rest of the community.
“We’ve just seen many, many crimes, getting worse all the time. And as Maine knows – a major destination for Somali refugees,” he said. “They’re coming from among the most dangerous territories or countries anywhere in the world.”
Trump claimed “We have no idea of who they are … this could be the great Trojan horse of all time!”
Mr. Trump can relax. We know who they are. They are our neighbors and our friends. Some of them work in our schools and hospitals. Some are students. Some own businesses. They pay taxes, which are used for, among other things, maintaining the stage from which he spoke.
Among the Portland residents of Somali descent that Trump wants us to fear is Officer Zara Abu of the Portland Police Department. She was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, worked two jobs to get through college, and now protects and serves her community.
Trump tried to suggest that immigrants like Officer Abu are responsible for “many, many crimes,” but he has no evidence to back that up. Every ethnic group includes individuals who break the law, but solid research shows that native-born Americans are more likely to commit crimes than the people who move here from other countries. Trump’s libelous insinuations are just an attempt to boost his standing by dividing the rest of us.
And then he made the even more outrageous claim that this particular subgroup of Portland residents would be a fertile recruiting ground for Islamic terror groups. Is he kidding? He is the best recruiter that the extremists have ever had. His indiscriminate slurs against American Muslims stoke the myth that the West is out to destroy Islam.
There are 67,318 people, more or less, who live in Portland. Some of them were born in America, some in other countries, but all of them belong.
Trump, not the city’s Somali-American community, was the outsider in Portland on Thursday, and he represents the danger of which the people of this community should be very afraid.