Actor and activist George Takei has fiercely condemned a prominent Donald Trump supporter’s invocation of Japanese-American interment camps as “precedent” for a proposed national registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
“The Japanese-American internment was an egregious violation of our national values and principles, a terrible event for which Congress apologized in 1988,” Takei said in a statement released Thursday. “To invoke that dark chapter as a precedent for any action against any minorities today is a morally bankrupt and dangerous step, completely out-of-bounds with contemporary notions of civil and human rights.”
Takei’s statement came in response to remarks by Carl Higbie, a former spokesman for the pro-Trump organization Great America PAC, during a Wednesday appearance on the Fox News program The Kelly File.
Speaking about the proposed registry, Higbie said, “We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region.” He added, “We’ve done it with Iran back — back a while ago. We did it during World War II with Japanese, which, call it what you will, may be wrong.”
“Come on, you’re not proposing that we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope,” replied host Megyn Kelly.
“I’m not proposing that at all,” Higbie said. “I’m just saying, there is precedent for it.”
In addition to denouncing Higbie’s comments, Takei said he will be formally inviting elected officials across the country to attend a film screening of Allegiance, the Broadway musical inspired by his own life, including his time in internment camps. As previously announced, the musical will be in theaters for one night only, Dec. 13.
“It is more important than ever that the story of the internment be told and heard,” Takei said in his statement. “We must remain vigilant and mindful of our past mistakes, so that history does not repeat itself. Trump’s rhetoric and plans to profile Muslims indicate that he has not learned the folly of the internment, nor the forces of fear and prejudice that propelled it.”
Watch Higbie’s appearance on The Kelly File above.