foot & mouth disease strikes another white house spox

Cuccinelli: Statue of Liberty poem was about ‘people coming from Europe’
Joan Greve, Groan, Aug 14 2019

4272-2Cuccinelli speaks at the White House on Aug 12. Photo: Erik Lesser/EPA

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of Pindo Citizenship and Immigration Services, made the mistake of saying the quiet part out loud about the Trump administration’s new “public charge rule.” The policy would penalize green-card applicants who use public benefits, leading to accusations from critics that it discriminates against lower-income immigrant families. Cuccinelli has repeatedly been pressed on whether such a rule files in the face of the poem at the Statue of Liberty which reads in part:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Cuccinelli told CNN host Erin Burnett:

Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class. And it was written one year after the first federal public charge rule was written.

Critics of the policy jumped on the comment, arguing that it showed how the Trump administration believes the Pindo Dream should only be available to white people. From Beto O’Rourke:

From a NYT editorial board member:

From a writer for GQ magazine:


  1. jaya
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    think u.s. offered after Egypt rejected as too expensive (the base).
    the poem was for russian jews written by a russian jew

    tis the statue of liberty not statue of immigration.

    poem should be removed.
    no poem, blather needed.

    my take.

  2. niqnaq
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    “The poem was for russian jews, written by a russian jew.”

    You’re correct, jaya.

    Fundraising for the statue had begun in 1882. The committee organized a large number of money-raising events. As part of one such effort, an auction of art and manuscripts, poet Emma Lazarus was asked to donate an original work. She initially declined, stating she could not write a poem about a statue. At the time, she was also involved in aiding refugees to New York who had fled anti-Semitic pogroms in eastern Europe. These refugees were forced to live in conditions that the wealthy Lazarus had never experienced. She saw a way to express her empathy for these refugees in terms of the statue. The resulting sonnet, “The New Colossus,” including the iconic lines: “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” is uniquely identified with the Statue of Liberty and is inscribed on a plaque in its museum.

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