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'Sickening': Trump Mocks Asylum-Seekers Fleeing Violence at Michigan Rally

"The single most powerful person on the planet mocking some of the most vulnerable people on the planet."

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Van Andel Arena on March 28, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

During a rambling and lie-filled rally Thursday night in Grand Rapids, Michigan, President Donald Trump mocked asylum-seekers fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, suggesting they are not actually afraid for their lives.

"This stuff always plays in the press like bad manners or a confounding lapse of presidential decorum but he's the actual literal boss of the actual literal goons hunting people down and throwing them into prison camps right now."
—Tom Scocca

"You have people coming up. You know they're all met by the lawyers," Trump said. "And they come out, they're all met by the lawyers, and they say, 'Say the following phrase: I am very afraid for my life. I am afraid for my life.'"

"And then I look at the guy. He looks like he just got out of the ring. He's the heavyweight champion of the world," the president said to laughter from the crowd. "He's afraid for his life. It's a big fat con job, folks."

Trump's remarks came amid outrage over migrant treatment in El Paso, Texas, where hundreds of people—including many women and young children—are being detained in what some described as "concentration camps."

Critics were appalled—though not surprised—by Trump's mockery of asylum-seekers, condemning the president's comments as "evil," "cruel," and "sickening."

One observer pointed to reporting showing that many asylum-seekers who have been turned away at the border have been killed or severely persecuted upon returning to their home countries.

"Literally the single most powerful person on the planet mocking some of the most vulnerable people on the planet," tweeted Daniel Balson, Europe and Central Asia advocacy director at Amnesty International.

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Trump also used his Michigan rally to launch an insult-laced tirade against Democratic lawmakers—such as "little pencil-necked Adam Schiff"—and lie about the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, which have not yet been released to the public.

As Vox's Aaron Rupar pointed out, it took the president just 90 seconds to lie about the Mueller report.

According to the summary of the two-year probe's conclusions by Attorney General William Barr, Mueller did not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice.

Addressing his fans in Michigan Thursday night, Trump asserted that the report did precisely that.

"The special counsel completed its report and found no collusion and no obstruction," the president said.

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