Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

English Language and Literatures

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Kevin Brock

Abstract

President Donald Trump ascended to the US’s highest hall of power through rhetoric that scapegoated marginalized groups, such as Muslims, Hispanics, immigrants, foreigners, and others. This work considers the executive order President Donald Trump released January 27, 2017, and its revision released March 06, 2017, for how it exemplifies Kenneth Burke’s notion of the scapegoat, specifically as outlined in A Grammar of Motives and A Rhetoric of Motives. These executive orders have come to be known as the “Muslim Ban” due to the way they implicate Muslims in charges of terrorism, harm, and danger and affect the lives and movement of innocent people and groups. Since the rhetorical work of these EOs occurs in a veiled, concealed, or silent way, the argument is supplemented by Cheryl Glenn’s “rhetoric of silence” as outlined in Unspoken: A Rhetoric of Silence. Framing the EOs in context of Trump’s candidacy and first 100 days in office exemplifies how silence augments rhetoric that evokes the scapegoat to shape America’s political and social destiny and reveals the machinations of power behind the use and imposition of the scapegoat on others.

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