On his 100th day as president, Donald Trump reverted back to his days on the campaign trail to recite the lyrics of a soul song titled The Snake to supporters gathered in Pennsylvania, comparing the song's traitorous reptile to immigrants.
It was a song Trump read repeatedly during the campaign, where his speeches resembled one another with few exceptions. During those days, he used the lyrics, which describe a charitable woman taking in a freezing snake, only to have it kill her with a venomous bite, as a metaphor for radical Islamic terrorists that he claimed were trying to enter the US as refugees.
On Saturday during a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to mark his 100th day in office, Trump recited the song for the first time as president, this time directly tying the poem to undocumented immigrants, which he has repeatedly tried to link with rising crime rates.
"So let's dedicate this to [Secretary of Homeland Security John] Kelly, the Border Patrol, and the ICE agents for doing such an incredible job. All right?" Trump said as he began the dramatic reading.
Despite the president and his administration's attempts to link crime with undocumented immigrants, multiple studies have found the assertion to be incorrect, including the Libertarian think-tank, the Cato Institute.
Documents obtained by BuzzFeed News also show that despite Trump's claims that deportations have been aimed at dangerous undocumented criminals, more than half of those arrested by ICE in raids during his first 100 days in office had no criminal record.
That hasn't stopped Trump from repeating the claim and, on Saturday, comparing immigrants to the song's "vicious snake."
"'The poor thing,' she cried, 'I'll take you in, and I'll take care of you,'" Trump said as he read the words of the song's "tender woman" to the ailing reptile. The president then paused and said, "the border," to make clear that the woman's home was a metaphor for the US.
"Does that explain it folks?" he concluded.
Here's the full text and video of Trump's recitation of The Snake.
Okay. So let's dedicate this to General Kelly, the Border Patrol, and the ICE agents for doing such an incredible job. All right? This was written by Al Wilson, a long time ago. And I thought of it having to do with our borders and people coming in and we know what we're going to have. We're going to have problems. We have to very, very carefully vet. We have to be smart. We have to be vigilant. So here it is, "The Snake." It's called "The Snake."
On her way to work one morning down the path along the lake a tender hearted woman saw a poor, half frozen snake. His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew. 'The poor thing,' she cried, 'I'll take you in, and I'll take care of you.'
Take me in oh, tender woman, take me in, oh, tender woman, sighs the vicious snake. She wrapped him up all cozy in a comforter of silk, and laid him by her fire side with some honey and some milk. She hurried home from work that night and as soon as she arrived she found that pretty snake she'd taken in had been revived. Take me in, oh, tender woman. Take me in for heaven's sake. Take me in oh, tender woman, sighed that vicious snake. She clutched him to her bosom, you're so beautiful, she cried. But if I hadn't brought you in by now, oh, heavens, you would have died. She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed him and held him tight. But instead of saying thank you, that snake gave her a vicious bite! Take me he in oh, tender woman, take me in for heaven's sake. Take me in, oh, tender woman, sighed the vicious snake. I have saved you cried the woman. And now I'm going to die. Oh, shut up, silly woman said the reptile with a grin. You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.
Salvador Hernandez is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Salvador Hernandez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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