Donald Trump Surrogate Suggests Japanese Internment Camps As ‘Precedent’ For Muslims

by Erika W. Smith

Today in terrifying, rage-inducing, post-election news, one of Donald Trump’s surrogates has suggested that we look to America’s WWII Japanese internment camps as inspiration for what to do to Muslim Americans.

According to the New York Times, Carl Higbie, who is a former spokesman for the Trump-backing Great America PAC and former Trump surrogate, made these comments during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Kelly File.” He was discussing Trump transition team member (and possibly Trump’s future Attorney General) Kris Kobach’s suggestion that Trump’s administration could reinstate a register for immigrants from Muslim countries, a program that Kobach helped design after 9/11. Higbie said:

“We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region. We’ve done it with Iran back — back a while ago. We did it during World War II with Japanese.”

Megyn Kelly responded, “You’re not proposing that we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope.”

Higbie said he didn’t agree with the camps, but, “I support it.” He later doubled down on his comments in an interview, saying, “There is historical, factual precedent to do things are not politically popular and sometimes not right, in the interest of national security.”


We hope we don’t need to tell you how terrifying this is. During WWII, under FDR’s orders, between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forced into internment camps — and the vast majority of them were American citizens. People forced into these internment camps lost their possessions, their jobs, their homes, their health, and in some cases, their lives.

The internment of Japanese Americans is one of the most shameful moments in American history and has been widely condemned by people with a huge variety of political beliefs. Former (Republican!!) presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush all publicly apologized for the internment camps.

But not President-elect Donald Trump. He has previously spoken about Japanese internment camps himself. Last December, he told TIME that he doesn’t know if he would have opposed the camps, and refused to say if the camps violated American values.

It’s terrifying that it’s been only nine days since the election, with Trump still two months away from taking office, and people are already seriously suggesting internment camps for Muslims.

We shouldn’t have to say this. But we’ll say it:

Discriminating against people because of their race or religion is wrong.

We need to do everything we can to stop Muslim internment camps, or a Muslim registry, or anything similar, from happening.

Top photo: “Photograph of Members of the Mochida Family Awaiting Evacuation” by Dorothea Lange, 1942, via Wikipedia

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