And now for something much easier to explain. U.S. Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke opened his piehole on Mar. 15 during a congressional hearing and now we’ve got yet another week’s worth of stories on the ugly racism that defines the Trump Administration.
Rep. Hanabusa had asked Zinke for assurances the Interior Department’s budget included $2 million in grant money to maintain historic sites that were used during World War II to intern Japanese Americans. Here’s how the important part of the exchange went, according to CNN:
HANABUSA: “I believe that it is essential that we as a nation recognize our darkest moments so that we don’t have them repeat again.”
Seriously, every single person appointed by Donald Trump is an asshole. Every. Single. One. Because who, other than an asshole, would work for a white supremacist misogynist pig like Trump?
Now for the folks in the back who have trouble keeping up, let me make this perfectly clear: What Zinke said to Hanabusa is racist. You can whine and argue and huff and puff and it’ll still be racist. Hanabusa asked a serious policy question and Zinke responded with a condescending greeting which clearly served to belittle her.
Of course, Zinke didn’t even use the word correctly–people usually say “Konnichiwa” during the afternoon but the hearing in question was still in the morning. But when you work for a president who routinely demeans and demonizes everyone who isn’t a straight, rich, white male, then this kind of behavior is expected. That Hanabusa didn’t vault off the dais and smack Zinke’s smirking mug has got to rank with the greatest acts of restraint in American history.
A few days after the hearing, Hanabusa issued a statement laying out exactly why Zinke’s remark was racist trash, according to a Mar. 18 Associated Press story.
“When Secretary Zinke chose to address me in Japanese (when no one else was greeted in their ancestral language), I understood this is precisely why Japanese Americans were treated as they were more than 75 years ago,” said Hanabusa in her Mar. 17 statement. “It is racial stereotyping. How ironic that the most decorated unit in military history, the 100th battalion, 442 Regimental Combat Team, fought for a country that considered them enemy aliens. We must never forget our voices or the fact that we must fight so all can remember the injustice. Remember so it is never repeated. I call upon you to join in the fight to ensure this country never forgets that it imprisoned its people because of their ancestry, not because they committed a crime.”
U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, D–Hawai‘i, who wasn’t even part of the hearing, also didn’t hold back when speaking out against Zinke.
“The internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans is no laughing matter,” Hirono tweeted at Zinke on Mar. 15. “What you thought was a clever response to [Rep. Hanabusa] was flippant & juvenile.”
For his part, Zinke defended his comment in the only way a Trump functionary could–by saying something equally tone-deaf, incorrect and patronizing. “How could ever saying ‘Good morning’ be bad?” Zinke told reporters, according to a Mar. 17 Arizona Republic story.