Trump and the Swedish Question

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it got worse.  However, it was a great way for Mr. Trump to celebrate Independence Day.

For many months the “land of the free and the home of the brave” has celebrated its heritage by separating children from parents who are seeking asylum in the United States. When asked about this policy Mr. Trump said parents who didn’t want to be separated from their children should think twice before trying to enter the country illegally.

Dealing harshly with non-citizens has not been limited to breaking up families trying to enter the United States.  It has been extended to those already living here under the temporary status program.  That program is designed to help families living in countries afflicted with wars and natural disasters, to obtain refuge in this country-a country that has long been known for the inscription on the Statue of Liberty welcoming new arrivals. that says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. . . .”

Under the temporary status program, more than 335,000 people from ten countries have obtained protected status.  Some have lived here for more than 20 years and established homes, businesses, and created families.  In January, the administration announced that it was ending protective status for those citizens who had been beneficiaries of the program.  It is forcing them to return to countries with which, in some cases, they have had no contact for many years.

Affected by the new policy are 89,000 Hondurans who arrived after their country was devastated by a hurricane, 9,000 Nepalis who arrived after a massive earthquake devastated their towns,  200,000 Salvadorans who arrived after their country was devastated by a massive earthquake, 45,000 Haitians who arrived following a devastating earthquake, and 2,500 Nicaraguans who arrived after their country was affected by severe hurricane damage.

Ever creative in figuring out how to get rid of people living in the United States, Mr. Trump has now come up with yet another plan. In June 2018, a task force was created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Its charge is to identify and strip citizenship from naturalized citizens who are found to have lied on their citizenship applications.  Reportedly, dozens of lawyers have been hired to examine possible fraudulent applications.  It is unclear how the lawyers determine whose applications to examine, but in a befuddled explanation of the new process, Michael Bars, a spokesman for the agency, said the agency was moving against “individuals who had been ordered removed and intentionally used multiple identities in order to defraud the government. . . to obtain citizenship.” How the government determined who those individuals are was not explained, since if their identity was already known it is unclear why a new entity was required to establish their fraud.  Whatever.

The administration was pleased (I assume), to let it be known that there could be a few thousand people who lied on their applications.  When their lies are uncovered, they will be denaturalized and immediately deported.

Once this new process was announced, a number of readers wrote asking whether there was any chance that Mr. Trump might be denaturalized, removed from office, and immediately deported.  The reason that question was posed is that Mr. Trump, as well as his father, have consistently lied about what country they are from.

Mr. Trump’s father, Fred, was German but, according to reports, tried to hide the fact that he was the son of German immigrants, because of the anti-German sentiment sparked by World War II. He believed that if people knew he was of German descent it would hurt his business and, accordingly, told people that he was of Swedish descent.

In Mr. Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal, Mr. Trump said his grandfather had come to this country from Sweden as a young boy. In an interview with the Boston Globe, Mr. Trump was asked why he perpetuated the lie of his grandfather’s citizenship.  He explained: “It was never really something discussed.  My father spent a lot of time there.  But it was never really something really discussed very much.”

To those who wrote asking whether the earlier lies told by his father and grandfather, and for a while by Mr. Trump himself, might, somehow, imperil Mr. Trump’s presidency and residency in the United States, the answer is it will not. Mr. Trump was born in the United States and by itself that is enough to guarantee that he can retain his presidency and his citizenship, irrespective of whether in his grandfather’s application it was fraudulently stated that the boy immigrating into the United States was from Sweden.  And, of course, Mr. Trump’s earlier claims to be of Swedish descent are nothing more than the kind of empty puffery we have come to expect from the blond haired bag of wind that resides in the White House.  A pity, that.

Christopher Brauchli can be e-mailed at For political commentary see his web page at