In an excerpt from his new book published yesterday in New York magazine, Joshua Green reveals that Ann Coulter helped to write the immigration plan that President Trump released during his campaign:
Although Trump didn’t dwell on policy details, [Steve] Bannon pitched in there, too. When Trump came under fire because his campaign hadn’t produced a single policy paper, Bannon arranged for [Sam] Nunberg and Ann Coulter, the conservative pundit, to quickly write a white paper on Trump’s immigration policies. When the campaign released it, Coulter, without disclosing her role, tweeted that it was “the greatest political document since the Magna Carta.”
The similarities between Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and Coulter’s writings were noted throughout the campaign. Coulter told one reporter that the Trump campaign requested an advance copy of her book “Adios America” before he gave his infamous speech about Mexican “rapists.”
Coulter was thrilled with the immigration plan Trump released in 2015, which called for building a wall at the Mexican border, mass deportations and ending birthright citizenship. As we and others noted at the time, that plan had plenty of similarities to “Adios America.” On top of her “Magna Carta” comment, Coulter tweeted at the time, “I don’t care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper.” Her enthusiasm makes even more sense when you learn that she wrote the paper herself.
Coulter prides herself on saying the most outrageous things possible in order to get attention, but the core of her message is a corrosive one that helped drive Trump’s campaign: stirring up fear of immigrants and nostalgia for a whiter America. Peter Beinart summarized Coulter’s view of Trump’s candidacy in The Atlantic:
The secret of Trump’s success, she argues, has been ideological. He recognized that “Americans,” by which she mostly means Republicans, “are homesick.” They don’t just oppose immigration because they believe it depresses wages and strains government services. They’re homesick for a whiter America, an America that was once truly free because “it’s not in the Anglo-Saxon character either to take orders or to give them.” (Never mind about slavery.) Since 1965, however, when Lyndon Johnson signed legislation allowing more immigration from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, the United States has been, according to Coulter in In Trump We Trust, overrun by “illiterate peasants … who can be instructed to learn certain symbols and bloc-vote for the Democrats.” In response, Democrats, along with rich Republicans, keep the doors open to non-European immigration, and thus America has grown “browner” and “shorter.” (That’s Coulter’s description from Adios America). Corruption rises. So does terrorism and rape.
Coulter’s unabashed white nationalist ideas have endeared her to the white nationalist fringes. Last year, she attended a party hosted by the white nationalist website VDARE; on election night, she retweeted a VDARE message that undocumented writer Jose Antonio Vargas would now “have to go back”; she has credited VDARE editor Peter Brimelow for her interest in immigration politics.
While it should be shocking that someone like Coulter was shaping Trump’s campaign immigration policies, that is now par for the course for the Republican Party. After all, it is Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who has his own lengthy record of white nationalist remarks, who has been driving the immigration policy of House Republicans.