Why Trump’s ‘low IQ’ debate comment is facing backlash

Why Trump’s ‘low IQ’ debate comment is facing backlash

We all know President Donald Trump values individual intelligence, but he sparked widespread outcry with a claim he made on the topic during the second presidential debate between himself and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Trump spoke up for his administration’s strict immigration policy, specifically criticizing “catch and release,” a practice which releases immigrants into the community while they wait for their immigration hearings rather than waiting in a detention center. To the president, the policy is flawed, as he worries those released into the community won’t return for their court hearing. “Only the really … I hate to say this … but those with the lowest IQ … they might come back, but there are very, very few,” he said (via NBC News), explaining why his administration has instead chosen to immediately deport captured migrants, including those legally seeking asylum.  

While his words shocked viewers, his fears of missed court hearings by so-called unfit potential citizens is rather unlikely according to the data. “About 99 percent of asylum seekers who were not detained or who were previously released from immigration custody showed up for their hearings over the last year,” Vox reported, sharing the findings from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, which is a think tank that tracks immigration court data.

As with any questionable Trump claim, his commentary on certain types of migrants ignited fierce backlash. 

Immigrant families have a bone to pick with Mr. President

Critics of Donald Trump’s immigration rhetoric not only found fault with the validity of his words, but also took offense as he undermined the intelligence of immigrants who comply with the law. “I married a foreigner (Canadian) who became an immigrant. We did everything legal. Trump says that means someone has a low IQ. I married a medical doctor who specializes in cardiology, speaks multiple languages and who didn’t pay someone to take their college entrance exam,” one user tweeted following the incendiary remark. “Yeah did you hear that? All my relatives that showed up for their immigration court dates had ‘low IQ’ … Yeah that’s why they were able to stay in the country, have jobs, have a family, and become citizens,” another social media user shared.

While Trump’s commentary clearly offended many American immigrants and their families, others went a step further and accused him of hypocrisy. “Why would some like Trump, who refuses to release a copy of his college transcript, have the audacity to even utter the word “IQ”?” an irate commenter tweeted. “Actually, [Trump] had 4 years to turn things around. Instead he made things worse,” another added. “[He] put kids in those cages, called immigrants low IQ, claimed windmills kill birds, and had to blame past administrations for his own failures.”

As of this writing, Trump has not specifically responded to the backlash from this comment. 

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