Why are these refugees in the GOP’s president’s childhood home? Because, as representatives of the United Nations gather in New York City for their General Assembly, they want to send world leaders an important message: Refugees are welcome here, or at least they should be.
After Donald Trump’s appalling UN speech, we need this. And what better way to send a pro-immigrant message than with a video taken where number 45 grew up, a spacious Tudor-style house along a tree-lined street in Jamaica Estates? Oxfam America’s website explains they rented the house through Airbnb and gathered four happily settled refugees together to share their thoughts on what America means to them.
While the U.S. and other nations stoke the fires of fear and hate against these immigrants, Oxfam America’s sending a clear message. These Refugees from Syria, Vietnam, and Somalia want to send a message of “hope, kindness, and American values.”
According to Oxfam, more than 65 million people from around the world are fleeing from war, poverty, and persecution. Among these were the four refugees sharing their thoughts on the American dream in Oxfam America’s video.
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) September 19, 2017
Refugees share their thoughts on the American dream.
Abdi, who fled from Somalia and now lives in Maine said, “[The] American dream, actually to me, consists of liberty, independence, thinking peacefully.”
.@OxfamAmerica rented out Trump's childhood home in Queens to refugees from Syria, Somalia and Vietnam.
It's on Airbnb for $725 a night. pic.twitter.com/WRBWpwJI4A
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 18, 2017
For Eiman, also from Somalia and now resettled in North Carolina, added, “To me, the American dream is having a safe and stable home, and being able to accomplish your goals and having those opportunities. And now it’s starting to feel threatened.”
At various points in the video, the camera panned in on photos of Donald Trump and related memorabilia including a framed poster with an allegedly inspiring quote from him: “Sheer persistence is the difference between success and failure.” He apparently mistook the word “persistence” as a synonym for money.
Uyen came from Vietnam and now lives in California. She explained, “There are so many parents, moms, dads, who are holding their kids across journeys, across journeys, across all these different countries and so forth who are just trying to do the best for their children.”
Finally, Ghassan from Syria, a newly minted Marylander and the only one of the four not yet speaking nearly perfect English told the camera, “I am like any other people who’ve come here. Look at the person, what his life journey has been like. I direct a message to the leaders of the world. Help all the countries facing conflict. Help them establish stability.”
The video ends with a statement from Oxfam’s Shannon Scribner from Oxfam America.
“So we’re here today in the childhood home of President Trump to send a message to President Trump, but also world leaders, that they need to do more to help refugees. “
She then notes, “We are on track right now to have the deadliest year for refugees and migrants that are trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. And in Uganda right now there are over one million refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan.”
Here’s Oxfam America’s video:
Here’s the original Airbnb listing (which has been taken down).
— Jeroen van de Peppel (@JVP73) August 11, 2017
As for the Airbnb rental … Housing Wire reports the 2,500 square-foot 5-bedroom, 3.5 bath house sleeps 20 and rents for $725 a night. The listing described it as “President Donald J. Trump’s Childhood Home” and informed us the house was built in 1946 “by Fred Trump himself.”
The Airbnb listing then assured would-be renters:
Not much has been changed since the Trumps lived here, the kitchen is original and the opulent furnishings represent the style and affluence in which the Trumps would have lived. This is a unique and special opportunity to stay in the home of a sitting president.
With what appears to be a touch of irony, the listing wryly added, “There is a giant cut out of Donald in the Living Room, he is a great companion for watching Fox News late into the night…”
Here’s the living room with the cut-out mentioned above.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 22, 2017
Here’s a dose of too much information from the master bedroom where Fred and Mary Trump once slept.
— Jackie (@ItsJackieBtch) August 22, 2017
If any house needs a good saging, it’s this one … and the White House,
They weren't renovating the White House, they were saging it. pic.twitter.com/LRx5h71Wmh
— chaysonjayson (@ChaysonJayson) August 21, 2017
The current Airbnb hosts are trying to cash in on the name, but unsurprisingly the last owner “didn’t have any luck with it.” That may explain why they auctioned off the house in 2016 with an opening bid of $849,000. Now the property’s being sold again for $1.6 million.
Featured image: Video screen grab via Oxfam America.