It would not have been out of place coming from the mouth of Marine Le Pen or others on the European far right. Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment (she doesn’t), that she wants to let in hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Muslim countries (she doesn’t), that the vetting process for said immigrants is non-existent (it isn’t), that NATO isn’t fighting terrorists (it is), and that the man who massacred 50 people in Orlando was born in Afghanistan (he was born in Queens, like Trump).
And yet the lies, somehow, weren’t the most egregious part of the speech. Trump scapegoated and fear-mongered—suggesting repeatedly that Americans should be afraid of all Muslims, particularly those born in foreign countries—while arguing that this scapegoating and fear-mongering was, in fact, tolerance. Referring to himself in the third person, Trump said, “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words? Clinton wants to allow radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country—they enslave women, and murder gays.” (You can read a transcript of the speech here, though it doesn’t contain Trump’s ad-libs.)
For Trump, Muslim immigrants—many of whom are women and children fleeing ISIS and other similar organizations—are simply terrorists in waiting. Just as disturbingly, there are no lone wolves in Trump’s formulation—terrorists are, in his view, incubated in Muslim communities that detest our values. Trump’s speech suggested America’s Muslim community is part of a grand Muslim conspiracy, hatched overseas, to bring down the country. The subtext was barely subtext: Trump is running for president on the promise that he will actively discriminate.