The Trump Administration has taken its impersonation of an authoritarian regime to the next level with its latest diplomatic stunt.
Iconic football player and United Arab Emirates Al Fujairah’s coach, Diego Armando Maradona was denied a visa after he made a televised comment calling Trump a “puppet.”
Maradona was barred from entering the country after an interview aired on TeleSUR where he called Trump “chirolita,” a naughty blond Argentine children’s puppet popular in Latin America in the 70s and 80s. The term has since come to be an insult for anyone taking orders from someone else like a puppet.
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Maradona was traveling to the US to attend an ongoing civil case filed against his ex-wife.
His lawyer had advised Maradona not to even bring up discussion of the US in his TV appearance, knowing that inevitably he’d be asked his opinion on Trump. Maradona did it anyway and when faced with the question made the “chirolita” comment.
Trump has been on an into-immigration tear since taking office last year. The debate over immigration erupted into a government shutdown two weeks ago after Democrats refused to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government without an adequate solution addressing the future of Dreamers and the DACA program.
In the days following, Dems and Trump have gone back and forth on what would constitute acceptable immigration reform. Trump has signaled that he would allow a path to citizenship for Dreamers in exchange for huge limitations on legal immigration and the end of the visa lottery system.
No doubt Maradona expressing his right to free speech triggered Trump’s response: to use this as a trial run of his planned cessation of legal immigration.