May 14, 2018
The scene at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside on Thursday night could prove to be a powder keg when conservative commentator Tomi Lahren comes to town for an evening of dialogue and discussion.
A protest of the event, led by the Refuse Fascism Philly group, has been in the works for two months. The protesters believe Lahren, an avid supporter of the Trump administration, has served as an apologist and enabler of white supremacists and xenophobes.
They received more fodder for their position this weekend when Lahren spoke up in defense of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who recently told NPR that illegal immigrants are not well-suited to "assimilate" and "integrate" into modern society in the United States because of a deficiency in language and occupational skills.
“These people need to understand that it’s a privilege to be an American and it’s a privilege that you work toward. It’s not a right," Lahren, 25, said during a Saturday appearance on Fox News' "Watters World." "You don’t just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language and come into our country because someone says it makes them feel nice."
.@TomiLahren: "You don't just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language and come into our country because someone says it makes them feel nice. That's not what this country is based on." @WattersWorld pic.twitter.com/Dux0cABHar— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 13, 2018
Lahren has taken heat in the past for comparing Black Lives Matter to the Ku Klux Klan, singling of Muslim refugees as "rape-u-gees" and unexpectedly defending abortion — a stance that wound up getting her fired from TheBlaze. She has been a contributor at FOX News since 2017.
In response to Lahren's comments on Saturday, German genealogist and journalist Jennifer Mendelsohn tweeted some interesting tidbits she learned after digging into Lahren's family background.
Except the 1930 census says Tomi's 3x great-grandmother had been here for 41 years and still spoke German.— Jennifer Mendelsohn (@CleverTitleTK) May 13, 2018
Her 2nd great-grandmother had been here for 10 yrs. Spoke no English.
Her great-grandfather's 1895 baptism from MN? Recorded in Norwegian.#resistancegenealogy #receipts pic.twitter.com/rIySFu6fvL
People are people, and always have been.— Jennifer Mendelsohn (@CleverTitleTK) May 13, 2018
Some of our ancestors broke laws, some were model citizens. Some never assimilated or spoke English. Some did.
Blind lionization of the people who came before us may be just as dumb as the wholesale demonization of current immigrants.
What I'm trying to show here is that these nativists can't keep trying to back up their argument by saying "the country doesn't work this way" when clearly it does, and has: for their families.— Jennifer Mendelsohn (@CleverTitleTK) May 13, 2018
So why do they *really* not want these people here? That's what we need to dig out.
Lahren's event, scheduled to begin at 7:30 Thursday night, is billed as a series of "topic-driven segments" and "social media dialogue" followed up by an audience Q&A.
Defenders of free speech criticized the protest's announcement in March, claiming the anti-fascist group was assailing protected speech and demonizing Lahren by calling her "White Power Barbie" on the event page. Protesters have countered that the event amounts to "a Nazi rally" in Montgomery County.
More than 130 people have said they'll show up outside the Keswick at 6 p.m. Thursday, with interest to attend expressed by several hundred more. Tickets to Lahren's talk, "Family, Freedom & Final Thoughts," are still available and cost between $35-$85.