In a speech to law enforcement officials, Trump made a clear statement that unauthorized immigrants are subhumans, and that they should be treated accordingly.
The villains of Trump’s speech were the transnational criminal gang MS-13, which started in California but has taken root in El Salvador. Trump described MS-13 members as “animals” who “have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods into bloodstained killing fields.”
However, the speech then moved on to immigrants throughout the US, blurring the lines of how has been labelled ‘an animal’.
He then went on to state:
“One by one, we’re liberating our American towns. Can you believe that I’m saying that? I’m talking about liberating our towns. This is like I’d see in a movie: They’re liberating the town, like in the old Wild West, right? We’re liberating our towns. I never thought I’d be standing up here talking about liberating the towns on Long Island where I grew up, but that’s what you’re doing.”
He talks of liberating towns, as if the country was under siege or occupation. In the COCA it can be seen that liberating collocates with war and violence.
Thus, America is under a state of war, a continuous war that he likens to the Wild West.
And then, the President of the United States used his platform to incite violence, and encouraged law enforcement official to ‘rough up’ undocumented immigrants who had been detained.
“Now, we’re getting them out anyway, but we’d like to get them out a lot faster. And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay? ”
Trump rambles and rarely keeps to a script. At times he refers to gang members then switches to undocumented immigrants. However, he blurs the lines and his rhetoric is inflammatory. Some of his listeners will focus on aspects of his speech which refers to non-whites as animals, as violent and dangerous, of the need to liberate towns and cities of these people.
By quickly looking at the collocates of ‘they’, is can be seen how Trump constructs the out-group.
Collocates of ‘they’ include:
stab, kidnap, machete, butcher, knives, rob, beat, trafficking, fight, fought, stomp, knives, exhort, slash, clubs.
Words have consequences.