Ken Cuccinelli Blasted for Comments Defending Twisting Statue of Liberty Poem: ‘Said the Quiet Part Out Loud’
During a segment with CNN’s Erin Burnett, President Donald Trump’s acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli, claimed that Emma Lazarus’ empathetic poem on the Statue of Liberty was about “people coming from Europe” and Twitter erupted in outrage.
Cuccinelli’s claim came hours after the former Republican Virginia attorney general attempted to reinterpret the famous poem’s lines to defend the Trump administration’s new public charge rule when approving legal immigrants.
Following up on his comments from earlier in the day, the CNN host asked: “What do you think America stands for?” Cuccinelli’s response: “Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies where people were considered ‘wretched’ if they weren’t in the right class.”
This attempt by a Trump immigration official to demographically narrow the promise and hope of America to refugees from just one continent — populated by mostly Caucasian people — sparked immediate outrage online.
Cuccinelli: That statue of liberty poem was about “people coming from Europe.” pic.twitter.com/nrDcUGJsU3
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) August 13, 2019
In case you think racism is a fringe thing this guy is the acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, not some random Fox News personality. https://t.co/XByl3dkIlh
— Murtaza Mohammad Hussain (@MazMHussain) August 14, 2019
This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people. https://t.co/kTLl50yCmw
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 14, 2019
in case you’re *still* not sure if Ken Cuccinelli’s racist, he’s also:
– compared immigrants to rats
– named Steve King as one of his “very favorite congressmen”
– backed invoking “war powers” against the “invasion” of migrants to deny them due process https://t.co/9Bk52k6nvb
— Jesse Lehrich (@JesseLehrich) August 14, 2019
Well there you go… https://t.co/2LjYCZLyyS
— digby (@digby56) August 13, 2019
I am ashamed that #KenCuccinelli is a Virginian. Our former Attorney General. He is cruel. Callous. And the face of the new GOP under @realDonaldTrump it’s deplorable. Oh, wait… https://t.co/EarvInq873
— Sophia A. Nelson (@IAmSophiaNelson) August 13, 2019
quiet part so loud it registers on the richter scale https://t.co/PMQBC11ohs
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) August 14, 2019
he said the quiet part out loud https://t.co/cpaaygZ3sa
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) August 14, 2019
Heeeeeyyy… this crowd is just made up of off-the-rack, regular-ass racist jerks. Way too much energy is devoted to making up reasons to think there’s some other explanation. https://t.co/HaNDfxjqrF
— Jeffrey Young (@JeffYoung) August 14, 2019
Wait, Cuccinnelli actually found a way to get more racist and xenophobic from the morning quote this evening?! https://t.co/aqMytpzvPc
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) August 14, 2019
— G O L D I E. (@goldietaylor) August 13, 2019
They are telling you they want the country to only be white. How much clearer could this be? https://t.co/IDK2uQnGGJ
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) August 13, 2019
“We know.” -Chinese-Americans https://t.co/IgskeRYGfA
— Conor Sen (CT/MA thru 8/14) (@conorsen) August 14, 2019
Just when you think it can’t get any worse… https://t.co/o1lTtj6DQz
— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) August 14, 2019
Cuccinelli is just reciting white nationalist talking points verbatim here. https://t.co/xOiR0HoiLl
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) August 13, 2019
Trump is this close to making Cuccinelli veep over Pence https://t.co/RWvjxVj5FQ
— Taniel (@Taniel) August 14, 2019
Pretty much couldn’t be more explicit? https://t.co/68jjjO33l1
— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) August 14, 2019
Not even trying to hide racism. Appalling. https://t.co/T6X3CQRoyz
— Phil Wahba (@philwahba) August 14, 2019
Some folks also noted the irony that CNN once paid Cucinelli to be a contributor on its network.
There are lots of great people at CNN. Lots of them. But it is worth noting that network execs thought Ken Cuccinelli’s insight was so valuable that they paid him for it. (Probably at a salary that could’ve paid for another reporter or producer.) https://t.co/Gb4reNzdr9
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) August 14, 2019
Ken Cuccinelli was a man CNN deemed worthy of a paid contributor role at the network.
It’s interesting. https://t.co/1KLhboNBNC
— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) August 14, 2019
However, at least one media figure online felt like Cuccinelli’s comments were taken out of context.
The context seems to be completely cut off here — he goes into talking about class stratification of Europe and some kind of argument about merit, not Europeanness or whatever https://t.co/LgaOuS7hx3
— Zaid Jilani (@ZaidJilani) August 14, 2019
Screengrab via CNN.
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