A month ago, Donald Trump and officials in his campaign assured voters they would organize a news conference to clear up questions about the legal means by which his Slovenian-born wife, Melania, entered the country in the mid-1990s and obtained a green card several years before they were married in 2005. Those questions persist, the Trump campaign has refused to answer them, and no such news conference has occurred.
Melania Trump insists she violated no immigration laws; that may prove to be the case. Yet her own sketchy and not-quite-consistent account of her initial immigration status, along with the publication of nude modeling photos of her taken in New York the year before she says she entered the country, have combined to stoke doubts that she played entirely by the rules.
Donald Trump, having built his campaign around vilifying illegal immigrants, looks like a Grand Wizard of Hypocrisy. And having spent months as the most prominent exponent of the detestable “birther” movement, badgering the president to release his plainly valid and unexceptional birth certificate, the Republican presidential nominee now can’t be bothered to come clean on legitimate questions about the terms under which his wife entered the country and remained here.
Trump’s two-facedness on immigration doesn’t end there. As a developer, he employed and may have exploited undocumented immigrants to work on at least one of his most prominent projects, Trump Tower in New York. He has attacked the United States’ main visa program for high-skilled workers, calling it a job killer and vowing to end it with “no exceptions,” but his own companies have used it liberally to import hundreds of foreign workers, including fashion models.
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Of course, Trump and hypocrisy have long been on intimate terms. Although he has invested overseas in an array of businesses and projects, he thinks nothing of bashing other U.S. companies for launching plants and operations abroad. A champion of “traditional” marriage, he has tried it three times. And then there are his claims about charitable giving, which, upon close examination by The Washington Post, look wildly inflated.
Melania Trump, like many an immigrant, may be reluctant to delve too publicly into the details of her earliest days in the United States. Yet it is Donald Trump’s own double standards, on immigration and other issues, that invited questions – questions he himself said publicly would be addressed. The country is still waiting.