In the age of Trumpism, truth, objectivity, and empirical verification recede from the public eye, and no scholar or writer is safe from an executive branch with a vendetta against the fourth estate. Case in point, an Indian American faculty member at the University of Connecticut received numerous threats, including one against her life according to press releases by the History News Network and India Abroad, after writing a piece entitled “What happened the last time a president chose America’s enemies over its friends.”
At 10:17 AM on Friday, August 3rd, professor and historian Manisha Sinha tweeted that she had been subjected to threatening phone calls by individuals with knowledge of her home address and contact information.
While the article, published on CNN.com, was only meant as an academic and historical perspective on instances in which an incumbent American president has made statements or supported policy proposals that demonstrated allegiance to a hostile foreign entity, the comparison drew harsh criticism from conservative pundits across the media landscape.
In particular, Sinha discussed the similarities between Trump and President Andrew Johnson, who opposed Reconstruction and acted leniently towards citizens of the Confederacy immediately after the Civil War, stating that Trump “works from the same playbook. He has called white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia ‘very fine people,’…and has viciously attacked the United States government… .”
She got several misogynistic and racist phone calls, with demands for her to “go back to India,” despite having retained permanent residence in the United States since 1984, wrote Professor Sinha on her Facebook page. The xenophobic language used in these calls represents a larger threat to immigrant thinkers, and the stability and legitimacy of democratic institutions.