Kriston Capps is a staff writer for CityLab covering housing, architecture, and politics. He previously worked as a senior editor for Architect magazine.
Mayor Rick Kriseman pledges to bar Trump “from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps.”
Donald Trump took a big step forward Monday in his ongoing live reenactment of The Plot Against America. At a rally in South Carolina, the Republican presidential candidate called for a ban on Muslims entering the country. His proposal, while nakedly unconstitutional, drew cheers from the crowd and half-jeers from the crowded GOP field.
But at least a few leaders were able to muster the what-the-fascism?! response felt by millions of their constituents across the nation. One of those leaders was St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who took to Twitter to tell The Donald that he was banned from the city.
I am hereby barring Donald Trump from entering St. Petersburg until we fully understand the dangerous threat posed by all Trumps.— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) December 8, 2015
The Tampa Bay area resettles about 1 of every 10 refugees that winds up in the state of Florida, making it one of the leading destinations for refugees in the nation. Granted, most of those refugees are Cuban, not Muslim or Arab, but the point still stands. “St. Petersburg, Florida, is a welcoming city of opportunity where diversity is celebrated,” Mayor Kriseman tweeted—along with lots and lots of retweets of people from all over praising his position.
Is Donald Trump merely a boob, or is he a mouthpiece for a darker fascination lurking in the heart of America? The Pew Research Center conducted a survey on Americans’ perceptions of religious groups; on a scale of 1 to 100, Americans rated Muslims most “coolly,” at 40, just below atheists at 41. Republicans are considerably cooler toward Muslims than Democrats. Establishment candidates in the Republican presidential primary rushed to condemn Trump’s policy, but outsider candidates did not. So perhaps there is something festering in the heart of the Grand Old Party.
Mayor Kriseman (a Democrat) was only kidding, for his part: He doesn’t have the power to keep Trump out of the city. But is Trump joking? As Byron Tau reports in The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. has implemented a registry for Arabs and Muslims before—something many Americans have forgotten (or never knew), even though it happened in the recent past. And just last month, even before the rampage in San Bernardino, a majority of the governors of U.S. states signaled that the U.S. should refuse Syrian refugees for the foreseeable future. Then as now, it’s mayors who are talking sense.