During an appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation Sunday, Donald Trump said that as much as he “hates the concept” of racial profiling, he believes it might just be the “common sense” approach to preventing mass shootings like the one that left 50 people dead in Orlando a week earlier. “It’s not the worst thing to do,” he insisted.
The assumption is that young Muslim men of Middle Eastern heritage would be the target of a President Trump’s profiling policy. But as CNN contributor, and longtime Trump critic, Van Jones said earlier Monday afternoon, he could just as easily justify singling out young white men.
In a debate with former DEA special agent David Katz, moderated by host Brooke Baldwin (and first noted by Raw Story), Jones cited a report from last fall that said Americans are seven times more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist than by a Muslim terrorist.
“I just think it’s really interesting that we’re talking about racially profiling in the context of mass shootings,” he noted. “The vast majority of the people who are doing the mass shootings in America aren’t Muslims at all.”
Baldwin filled in the blank: “Young, white men.”
“You are seven times more likely to be killed by a right wing extremist — a racist or an anti-government nutjob — seven times more likely than a Muslim,” Jones continued. “If I came on TV and said let’s start racially profiling white men, let’s start racially profiling young, white men who are loners with bowl haircuts, people would think, ‘Wow, that’s a pretty unfortunate conclusion for you to come to.”
“If a Christian shoots somebody, we don’t say a Christian shot them,” he added. “But if a Muslim shoots somebody, we say a Muslim shot them. I think that’s starting to muddy the waters.”
To his credit, Katz also rejected the notion that all Muslim-Americans should be “profiled,” but also argued that ideology should play a role in the people who given extra scrutiny by the FBI. In the same way that someone who is a member of the Ku Klux Klan poses an outsized risk, someone who has publicly professed allegiance to ISIS should be considered more dangerous than the average citizen.
“If someone by their conduct, what they are declaring with their own voice, with their own words, who they're associating with, puts them a category of suspicion, that's fine,” Jones clarified. But when Trump says he is fine with “racial profiling,” that elicits a very different image. Specifically, “this idea that you’re going to blanketly put somebody in a category, all five million [in the U.S.], just because they're Muslim.”
Either Trump does not know what he means when he uses the term “racial profiling” or that’s exactly what he wants to do.