Trump surrogates are citing Japanese internment camps as “precedent” for Muslim registry

If you’ve been having a hard time stomaching some of the things the president-elect’s supporters have done and said since the election, this one is going to be a doozy. Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL and Trump surrogate, cited Japanese internment camps as justification for a Muslim registry. I know. This is the kind of thing you worry about while falling asleep and then shake off because surely that’s not what Trump really meant. He can’t really, really mean it. Well, Carl Higbie does, and he’s not just talking comparisons, he’s talking legal precedent — like Trump’s team is actually looking into how they can gather people they are scared of and put them away.

Higbie explained this “precedent” on Fox News with Megyn Kelly, who unsuccessfully tried to help him walk back his comments. On the Muslim registry being proposed by Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach, Higbie said, “Yeah, and to be perfectly honest, it is legal. They say it will hold constitutional muster. I know the ACLU is gonna challenge it, but I think it’ll pass, and we’ve done it with Iran back — back a while ago. We did it during World War II with Japanese, which, you know, call it what you will, maybe —”…. that’s when Kelly tried to help him, but he wasn’t having it. In fact, he further defended it.

“We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region. And the fact is he also brings it back as like, a constitutionality issue, the problem is is people outside this country are not protected under the same constitutional rights as we are in America,” Higbie said. Yes, he says that MUSLIMS ARE NOT PROTECTED BY THE CONSTITUTION.

What Trump and his supporters seem to be missing is that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. And while there may be some legal precedent or language in our Constitution — there is, it’s terrible — they can use to round people up and put them in a camp, everyone in this country is protected by the Constitution. I can’t even believe we’re having this conversation. Can someone bring me more coffee? Or tequila shots?

Former WWII Era Internment Camp Preserved As Manzanar National Historic Site
CREDIT: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Higbie told The New York Times it would be in the name of safety. “There is historical, factual precedent to do things that are not politically popular and sometimes not right, in the interest of national security,” he told them. Yes, there is. But they were not right and not popular and not good. They were awful and shameful. Like internment camps. Like invading countries that didn’t do anything to us. Like the Holocaust. Scared, ideological white men often do shitty things to other human beings for no reason at all except fear and and hate.

It’s terrifying that we’re talking about this. This election has shown everyone how asleep we all were while Islamophobia has been stewing and brewing and making us retweet shit but not get off of our asses and do something about it. And now we might be months away from all sorts of registries.