* In case you weren’t convinced by what I wrote this morning about Trump upping the ante on the “us against them” culture wars, more fuel has been added to that fire. One of the items has to do with legal immigration.

President Trump on Wednesday endorsed a new bill in the Senate aimed at slashing legal immigration levels over a decade, a goal Trump endorsed on the campaign trail that would represent a profound change to U.S. immigration policies that have been in place for half a century.

Trump appeared with Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) at the White House to unveil a modified version of a bill the senators first introduced in April to cut immigration by half from the current level of more than 1 million foreigners each year who receive green cards granting them permanent legal residence in the United States.

* White House nativist staffer Stephen Miller attended the White House press briefing today to explain and defend the bill. We’ll have to leave the case for/against the specific components of this legislation for another day. It was the way Miller defended it that fuels Trump’s culture wars. Here is how introduced the need to cut in half the number of green cards issued:

As a result of [current] policy, we’ve seen significant reductions in wages for blue collar workers, massive displacement of African American and Hispanic workers, as well as displacement of immigrant workers from previous years who often times compete directly against new arrivals who are paid even less. So its a policy that has actually exacerbated wealth inequality in the country in a pretty significant way. So you’ve seen over time, as a result of this historic flow of unskilled immigration, a shift in wealth from the working class to wealthier corporations and businesses and its been very unfair for American workers, especially for immigrant workers, African American workers and Hispanic workers and blue collar workers in general across the country.

At the same time, it’s cost taxpayers enormously because roughly half of immigrant-headed households in the United States receive some type of welfare benefit.

Do you see what he did there? He just argued that it is immigrants who are causing wealth inequality in this country—especially for people of color. Of course it has nothing to do with corporate greed and/or systemic racism. It’s all the fault of those immigrants. Not only that…those immigrants are coming here to mooch off our welfare system. That makes immigrants the big bad “them” who are coming to this country to hurt “us,” which is exactly the argument Joshua Green wrote that Miller and Bannon have been determined to make.

* During questioning, there was this rather shocking exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta:

Just to be clear, here’s the history on that nonsense about “The New Colossus” coming later:


* Jumping over to AG Sessions and the Justice Department, they are set to fire up the culture war by tackling affirmative action in college admissions.

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.

* As Paul Waldman explains, “The Trump administration takes up the cause of oppressed white people.”

Affirmative action is just one particularly resonant part of this puzzle, in which white people are told that any effort to address historical and current discrimination must necessarily involve taking something from white people and giving it to black people, a zero-sum contest in which, if racism is being ameliorated, it must mean whites are being victimized.

This idea goes back a long way, but it’s important to understand that it needs to be constantly maintained, which is where the conservative media come in. If you’re not a regular viewer of Fox News, reader of Breitbart or listener to the likes of Rush Limbaugh, you may not understand what a central role white racial grievance plays in the media presentations that shape how conservatives today see the world. There are constant reminders in those forums that government is an entity that swoops into your life to steal things from you so that it can give them to undeserving black people.

* Moving on from the culture wars, today Trump signed the bill enacting sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. He issued a signing statement expressing his concerns about the legislation that ended with this doosey.

I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars. That is a big part of the reason I was elected. As President, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress.

* Of course, Trump apparently had to check in with his boss first.

* Here’s why Trump is determined to fire up the culture wars. The chaos is having an effect.

* Finally, I really do feel for the few people who are finally coming to their senses about Trump. So this song goes out to those who are trying to figure out what happens after the love has gone.

Nancy LeTourneau

Follow Nancy on Twitter @Smartypants60.