Editor’s Note: Carrie Sheffield, a conservative commentator, is the founder of Bold, a digital news network committed to bipartisan dialogue. She is also National Editor for Accuracy in Media, a citizens’ media watchdog whose mission is to promote accuracy, fairness and balance in news reporting. The views expressed here are solely hers. View more opinion articles on CNN.
Many critics, including journalists from mainstream media outlets, misrepresented Lara Trump’s remarks in an interview with me on Bold TV. During our conversation about the government shutdown and President Trump’s efforts to secure our southern border earlier this week, she addressed the federal employees who worked without paychecks and said, “Listen… it’s not fair to you and we all get that, but this is so much bigger than any one person. It is a little bit of pain, but it’s going to be for the future of our country, and their children and their grandchildren and generations after them will thank them for their sacrifice”
Lara Trump went on to express her appreciation for government workers and empathized with their struggles, saying: “Right now, I know it’s hard. I know people have families, they have bills to pay, they have mortgages, they have rents that are due.”
“But the president is trying every single day to come up with a good solution here, and the reality is, it’s been something that’s gone on for too long and been unaddressed, our immigration problem. If we do nothing right now it’s never going to get fixed,” she added.
And yet despite her clear empathy and compassion for those workers affected by the shutdown, members of the media portrayed her as “out of touch” while social media users launched more vicious and personal smears. The media mob did to Lara Trump what they did to Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student wearing a Make America Great Again hat who was portrayed as an antagonist when he peacefully smiled and stood his ground after being approached by a Native American man beating a drum. The story was twisted rather than analyzed in its full context, debasing our national discourse.
Lara Trump’s critics have taken a fraction of our conversation and ignored the rest. Her critics failed to acknowledge America’s history of shared sacrifice as a means of preserving our prosperity for future generations, and chose instead to portray her as indifferent to everyday Americans. Let’s not forget that millions of blue-collar workers voted for President Trump, who ran his campaign on a signature issue: immigration reform.
And to the vocal critics of Lara Trump who say the President’s immigration policies are racist, it’s important to point to the persistent bloc of Latino voters who continue to support the GOP. In the 2018 midterm elections, 32% of Latinos voted for Republicans, according to The Associated Press. These numbers have remained fairly steady over the last two years as Trump has repeatedly called for increased border security and building a wall. Data from the Pew Research Center and other exit polls that showed 3 in 10 Latino voters supported Trump in 2016.
Lara Trump also highlighted the importance of border security in our interview. Americans have suffered property destruction and crime because of illegal immigration along our southern border. As former Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last year, “The illegal immigrant crime rate in this country should be zero. Every crime committed by an illegal alien is, by definition, a crime that should have been prevented.”
Finally under President Trump, we have someone in the Oval Office who is willing to take action. But the level of hostility that the President and his family endure simply for defending vulnerable Americans is unprecedented and dangerous to the health of our civic fabric.
Lara Trump tweeted out a response to critics, rightly calling them out for failing to watch the full interview of our conversation. The numbers tell the full story: a shortened version of the conversation has received more than 66,000 views online so far compared to just over 2,000 views for the full conversation. Many media outlets did not to link at all to our website, which included the full interview.
Lara Trump was right in pointing out the government employees struggling to support their families during the shutdown. In her response on Twitter, she called for Democrats to negotiate with the President. After all, it was a group of about 30 Democrats who flew to Puerto Rico earlier this month for a preplanned trip with Bold PAC, the Congressional Hispanic Congress’ political and fundraising arm. Speaker Pelosi and her team also tried to leave the country to visit Afghanistan during the shutdown. While President Trump announced a deal to end the 35-day shutdown on Friday, the standoff dragged on for far too long.
Rather than accurately portray Lara Trump’s point about short-term sacrifices that government workers – whose job is to serve the public – have endured during this shutdown, critics chose to attack her. These critics remind Trump voters why he’ll retain the White House in 2020 – supporters of the President know the egregious assault on reforming immigration policy is not a sustainable path forward.