Former Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has come out of the woodwork once again, proving that Donald Trump doesn’t hold the monopoly on political crazy talk. Ms. Palin used her CNN State of the Union speech to warn immigrants they should “speak American” if they wish to live in the USA. The comments see Ms. Palin enter a wider political debate about attitudes towards Hispanic and Latino Americans.
Last week, Mr. Trump raised the ire of fellow candidate Jeb Bush after openly criticising the former Florida Governor for speaking Spanish while on a recent visit to US border territories. “We’re a nation that speaks English,” Mr. Trump told the media last week, triggering subsequent waves of criticism and disapproval.
Seeking to jump in on the fun, Ms. Palin sought to stir the hornet’s nest with her own brand of quasi-intelligible invective. “It’s a benefit of Jeb Bush to be able to be so fluent in Spanish, because we have a large and wonderful Hispanic population that is helping to build America,” Ms. Palin said on CNN. “On the other hand, you know, I think we can send a message and say: ‘You want to be in America? A, you better be here legally, or you’re out of here. B, when you’re here, let’s speak American.’ I mean, that’s just, that’s – let’s speak English.”
The comments were roundly dismissed as ignorant and uncalled for, but the fear of being misinterpreted didn’t seem to affect Ms. Palin. In the end, it almost seemed as though the former Alaskan Governor was eyeing off a cushy position in a prospective Trump cabinet. “I think a lot about the Department of Energy, because energy is my baby, oil and gas and minerals, those things that God has dumped on this part of the Earth for mankind’s use, instead of relying on unfriendly foreign nations for us to import their resources,” Ms. Palin mused. “And if I were head of that,” she added, “I would get rid of it.”
As the broader debate over the long-term political prospects of a ‘Trump candidacy’ plays out, Ms. Palin’s comments and short-lived political career are timely reminders that the brash and the outlandish do not often win general elections.
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