Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Trump in Seattle: A Recommended Itinerary

The Republican candidate could learn a lot from our city. Will he?

Beyond the list of initial supporters who have since disavowed the candidate and distanced themselves from the event, details about Donald Trump’s fundraiser in Seattle next Tuesday have been slow to emerge.

Presuming this means his itinerary is still in the works—and not that his staff is trying to reduce the lead time granted to the mobs of protesters sure to gather—we are suggesting a few stops for the Donald on his visit.

First, he should swing by Rainier Beach High School, where black students outnumber white ones 12 to 1—presumably the kind of school that Trump was talking about last week when he told African Americans to vote for him because, among other reasons, their “schools are no good” and “What the hell do you have to lose?” Here, Trump would learn that three years ago the school adopted an inventive new curriculum that combines rigorous coursework and essay writing and has led to a 25 percent spike in graduation rates, giving it a higher rate than the Seattle average. The visit might persuade him to revise his pitch to voters to acknowledge the positive change they’ve brought to their communities without his unsolicited critiques.

After that, he could stop by The Station on Beacon Hill. Owned and operated by Mexican immigrant Luis Rodriguez, the tiny, unassuming shop has become the de facto living room of a neighborhood that has long boasted of being one of the most diverse in the nation. On any given morning, art, conversation, and camaraderie drip like an espresso shot from the store’s very rafters. A quiet cup of coffee in the back corner could impress upon Trump the beauty that can be built when America’s rich tapestry is embraced and cheap, nihilistic xenophobia is rejected.

Assuming the bridges aren’t too backed up, he could zip over to Redmond, where Nehath Sheriff, who will enter medical school this fall, opened a health clinic in a mosque to provide free or subsidized medical care to the needy. “What drew me most to medicine is the Islamic teaching that saving one life is like saving all of humanity,” Sheriff said in a press release announcing the clinic’s opening. Perhaps Trump could borrow that line for his stump speech, replacing the part where he calls for an outright ban on Muslims entering the United States—or, more recently, “extreme vetting.”

He could then head back to Seattle and visit the Panama Hotel in the International District to learn about Japanese Americans who were forced into internment camps during World War II. Seeing that he’s made flippancy and fear hallmarks of his campaign, a visit here might help him to better appreciate the grave power that comes with being president, and the deep pain that can be inflicted when a society gives in to its basest impulses.

Trump might do well to head down to South Lake Union and figure out his stance on H-1B visas, which are used by tech companies to bring in foreign workers. Trump has flip-flopped so much on this policy—first saying it should be ended because it’s abused by tech companies, then saying that tech companies should be able to use it to recruit skilled foreign students going to American universities, then saying that it should be ended because it’s not used to bring skilled workers to the U.S. at all—that it’s clear an on-the-ground look at the situation is needed. As is, Trump’s flip-flopping on the issue has earned him an “upside down Pinocchio” from The Washington Post.

If there’s still time, Trump could swing by the port and see how America’s “disastrous” trade deals have helped foster 216,000 jobs, which in 2014 generated $4.2 billion in direct wages and salaries, according to the most recent economic-impact study commissioned by the port. While this is a learning trip for Donald, this might provide him a good opportunity to explain how exactly his desired policy of throwing up tariffs against foreign imports would not result in other countries doing the same against us—as a wide range of economists have warned they would—thus hurting Seattle’s vibrant import/export economy.

Yes, Seattle, it would seem, might have a lot to teach Donald Trump about the world, and about how great this country already is. There’s little chance, sadly, that he’ll learn any of it.

editorial@seattleweekly.com

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