In 1850, my great, great grandfather, Patrick Dowd, came to America from Ireland as a very poor 17-year-old whose mother had died when he was 8. He settled in Muskegon, Michigan, and without having even enough money for dinner, he commenced to work immediately. He ended up in his life owning a cabbage farm and a hardware store, leaving a legacy of hard work, hope, faith, and a love of his new country to all of his proud ancestors.
Patrick Dowd stood more proudly and strongly for the ideals of America than our current president who has referred to many other countries as “s—holes.”
I have been blessed in my life with many gifts, including three sons, a beautiful daughter, and a son and a daughter I lost way too early in life.
My children descend from the sons and daughters of countries like Ireland, Germany, and Lebanon who when they immigrated to the U.S. were also regarded by many, as with Trump today, as having come from "s—hole" countries.
But they are Americans who give back. My oldest son served two tours of duty in Iraq where he put his life on the line every day and when he had time off would drive out into the countryside and give candy to poor Iraqi children. My youngest son served with CityYear in the “little Haiti” area of Miami, mentoring poor Haitian students in an elementary school there. All of my children carry more of the American ideals in their little fingers than the president does in his entire body.
Today is a sad moment in American history and the history of the White House. For the President of the United States to utter words like this does a total disservice to all of us who are sons and daughters of immigrants which encompasses nearly every American living and working hard in our great land and it again reduces our moral authority in the world. '
The next time the president goes home to his gilded Trump Tower in the great melting pot city of New York he might take some time and travel by boat to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. He might take a moment and read the inscribed words, which say in part “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”
President Trump might want to remember that immigrants make our country what it is today, found businesses at twice the rate of people born here, and have crime rates at half the rate of U.S.-born citizens.
As I said on "Good Morning America" today, there is another man like Donald Trump who came from Queens and holds similar views. The only difference between the fictional character of Archie Bunker and the real Donald Trump is that our president has more money but less class than Archie. A reality television star has now superseded a comedic television character from the 1970s in his divisive views with racist overtones. If the situation weren't so serious, it would be comical.
I have great hope that my fellow Americans will take a lesson from their ancestors about the vision and dream of what America truly is, and not have their vision clouded by the dark view our current president seems to have about America’s role in the world. We can do this if we each see the dignity and divinity in all human beings no matter where they were born. I salute all who fight on behalf of the most vulnerable and who welcome others with open arms.
Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.