Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said “every other country has fences” when asked whether he was in favor of a border wall during a TV roundtable over the weekend.
“China built a wall 2,000 years ago. In Beijing, they don’t have any Mexicans, so it’s working,” Patterson said to Michigan Matters host Carol Cain after she asked whether he agrees with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposal for the country’s southern border.
Also appearing with Patterson on Sunday’s program were Denise Ilitch and Michigan Chronicle Editor Keith Owens.
Cain asked Ilitch whether she thought Trump would apologize for past remarks about Muslim Americans, given metro Detroit’s sizable Arab population. “Absolutely not,” Ilitch said.
Patterson chimed in: “What’s he got to apologize for?” before adding: “No, I’m serious — with the Arab community?”
Cain then said she was referring to the dispute between Trump and Khizr and Ghazala Khan — the parents of a Muslim American soldier who died while serving in Iraq. Patterson said: “I do agree that was uncalled for.”
Ilitch pointed out that Trump is “also advocating for a wall to keep out a population of individuals,” which led Patterson to make his comment referencing the Great Wall of China.
Patterson’s Democratic challenger on the November ballot, former state Rep. Vicki Barnett, posted the video clip on her Facebook page.
“Once again, our Oakland County executive shows his embarrassing intolerance and insensitivity!” Barnett said in her post.
Patterson has served as Oakland County executive since 1992 and is seeking a seventh term in office.
Adonis Flores, the immigration organizer for the nonprofit Michigan United, said he considers Patterson’s remarks to be racist.
“It’s the definition of what a racist comment is,” Flores said Tuesday.