On May 5, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump posted a picture of himself smiling and flashing a thumbs-up, apparently about to eat from a giant beef and cheese-stuffed taco shell. The accompanying message read: "Happy Cinco de Mayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!" In one fell swoop, Trump managed to blend cultural tone-deafness, self-promotion, childishness, and one of his signature dubious assertions of "love" for whole demographic groups. His Facebook post came under immediate derision for all the above reasons, and more. And one year later, it's clear that the President Trump of today is disturbingly present in that tweet.
This is not surprising — how common is it for 70-year-olds to undergo profound personality and ideological shifts? Still, there were promises of a "presidential" transformation. One can be forgiven for grasping at whatever hope exists that our POTUS might not be so catastrophically oblivious.
Unfortunately, the defiant ignorance on display in that infamous Cinco de Mayo tweet now has plenty of presidential correlatives. Remember when Trump thought April Ryan would obviously be friends with every other black person in Congress? Or when Trump called a Jewish reporter a "liar," told him to sit down, and apparently thought claiming himself the "least anti-Semitic person" ever was a sufficient answer to rising instances of anti-Semitic attacks nationwide? (Bonus: same press conference.)
That kind of behavior — as well as the total dearth of self-awareness and tact that partially explains it — has resulted in policies that are harming minorities.
In one particularly egregious example, take the case of Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented immigrant mother of four who is currently hiding in a Denver church, out of fear she will be deported. That fear is not unfounded. In February, Guadalupe Garcia showed up for year annual meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Guadalupe had been living in the United States since she was a teenager, and her only crime was using false papers to obtain work. She has two American-born children. And still, when she obeyed the law by reporting with ICE, the Trump administration deported Guadalupe anyway.
These are just two instances of the way that Trump's proud shallowness, and his delightfully uninformed approach to complex, consequential topics, can alter lives. Guadalupe is in Mexico now, a country she hadn't been in since she was 14 years old. Vizguerra is hiding in a church basement.
It was all too easy to laugh at Trump's sorry messaging back when he seemed headed for what looked like sure election defeat. But from the 2017 perspective, his train wreck of a Cinco de Mayo tweet looks sadly prophetic.