President Trump – Week 1

Below are 22 things President Trump has done during his first week in office. I am not including things his cabinet members, advisers, and surrogates have said and/or done during this week because I’m only interested in the what the President himself is doing. While the people he surrounds himself with, and who claim to speak for him, are a window into who President Trump actually is and how he will govern, there is no better way to REALLY know him than to list out everything the man actually does. I’m also not including actions others have taken in response to President Trump (the Women’s March, government senior management resignations, etc.). So, without further preamble, here are 22 things President Donald Trump has done during his first week in office.

  1. Signed an Executive Order aimed at rolling back the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The order instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and heads of other departments to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from [and] delay” requirements of the Obamacare law.
  2. Announced a new, and potentially illegal, national policy of taking the national resources of sovereign nations (for example, keeping Iraq’s oil)
  3. Signed the “Border Security” executive order stating that Congress will allot federal funds (taxpayer dollars) for the immediate construction of a southern border wall. It includes plans to increase the number of border patrol agents by 5,000 and construct more detention facilities, and outlines a broad crackdown on immigrants who cross the southern border.
  4. Insulted the nation’s third largest trade partner by insisting Mexico would pay for the aforementioned wall despite Mexico’s refusal to do so. This has led to strained relations with our southern neighbor, the first sign being the canceled meeting at the end of January.
  5. Issued executive orders to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiations.
  6. Escalated tension between Israel and Palestine by beginning discussions to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
  7. Has signaled a change in policy regarding the use of torture during interrogations, directly at odds with longstanding international rules and regulations on the treatment of prisoners, potentially putting the US Military in a position of having to refuse to follow a direct order from the President.
  8. Signaled a shift in the Justice Department’s civil rights efforts when it requested a delay in the lawsuit over a Texas law requiring voters to present certain types of government-issued IDs.
  9. Halted a reduction to the annual mortgage insurance premiums borrowers pay when taking out government-backed home loans, increasing mortgage payments for thousands of homeowners.
  10. Signed three executive orders to benefit oil pipelines, including the completion of the highly controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, and remove Obama environmental protections. Noteworthy is the fact that President Trump may be personally profiting from the pipeline.
  11. Reinstated the 1984 Mexico City Policy which bans U.S. support to foreign organizations that offer abortion or abortion counseling to women.
  12. Ordered a hiring freeze on nearly all government workers, including thousands of highly skilled scientists, engineers nurses, and veterans.
  13. Announced his intention to renegotiate, or end, NAFTA.
  14. Targeted “Sanctuary Cities” by signing an Executive Order that bans giving federal funds to jurisdictions that “willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.”
  15. Put gag orders on multiple government agencies and removed vital internet content, including scientific studies pertaining to climate change.
  16. Announced he is preparing to sign an executive order to block the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen.
  17. Ordered agencies to freeze new regulations, giving the new administration time to review them (nearly every new President does this).
  18. Announced his intention to let his son-in-law play a prominent role in his administration, potentially putting him at odds with anti-nepotism laws.
  19. Proposed, and then quickly rescinded, imposing a 20% tax on Mexican made products sold in America.
  20. Announced he will ask for a “major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”
  21. Regardless of the hypocrisy, President Trump continues to use a private, unsecured cell phone, while many of his staffers use private email servers.
  22. He still refuses to release his tax returns.

For the Sake of History

Below are a small collection of links to articles, blog posts and videos that might be of interest a few days, weeks, months, and/or years from now. Not sure if any of them will amount to much, but at this moment in time they help explain some of what is going through my own head. I’ll add more as I find them over the next couple of weeks.

An historical look at what Donald Trump’s presidency might mean for humanity.

A melodramatic post-mortem for America.

Michael Moore on MSNBC’s Morning Joe discussing the why’s and how’s of Trump’s ascendancy.

The 2016 Exit Polls

Bernie Sanders shares his thoughts.

Theories on how Trump won.

Thoughts on what those who voted for Trump can expect from those who did not.

The “normalization” of Trump begins.

Why white women vote Republican.

An angry journalist on why myths and falsehoods believed by Democrats lead to Trump’s victory.

The rift between urban and suburban voters.

The End Is Nigh

I don’t recognize America anymore.

There is an old saying, wrongfully attributed as being a Chinese curse, that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” It’s meant to be read as ironic, the implication being that uninteresting times are peaceful and boring, while interesting times are full of turmoil and conflict. Well, no matter what you may think of the outcome of last night’s election, I think we can all agree that we’re now living in interesting times. And while I am personally horrified at the prospects that I see ahead of us here in America, there is no denying the fact that last night Donald Trump became the next president-elect of the United States of America.

I still can’t believe it.

I know a lot of you are thinking, “Get over it. Don’t be so melodramatic. The people have spoken and he’s the president, but this isn’t a dictatorship. There are checks and balances in place that will keep him from doing anything truly horrendous. And if he’s a bad president in four years we can put somebody else in office. It’s really not such a big deal.”

To you I respectfully say, “You’re wrong.”

Last night America elected into the highest office of the land the most hateful, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, and spiteful candidate ever to run for president. A man whose presidential platform centered around the alienation, vilification, and deportation of a vast swath of people who he calls rapists, drug dealers, and murderers. This is a man who belittled, bullied, and insulted his way to the top of the Republican ticket using hate speech to incite enough anger in his followers that he could point them at whatever target he wished and they would willfully, gleefully attack. Mexicans, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the media, his political opponents, and even his supposed political allies. No one was spared. His entire candidacy is based on inciting fear and stoking the fires of anger towards minorities in the general population. And historically, people who depend on vilification of a subset of their citizenry in order to win public approval and lead their country have had to follow through with their threats and promises or face the wrath of the masses themselves. So, I fully expect the wall to be built, and for people of color to be shipped “back to their country” regardless of how many generations they’ve lived in America.

I hope I’m wrong, I really do. But these are the things that will keep me awake at night for the next four years.

The seething anger that many Americans, myself included, have felt towards the political leaders of this country over the last 20 or more years has led to this. For years and years now, so very many years, we the people have been forced to choose between two political parties that have forgotten who their constituents are, and who, once in office, conveniently forget the promises they made to get to that office. By doing that over and over again, time after time, year after year, election after election, the ruling class in Washington has made it clear that there is no longer such a thing as a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

And so, entered Donald Trump.

He realized before anyone else that there was just enough fear, anger, and hate to be found in the electorate, that if a charismatic leader could capture it, that person had a very good chance of winning the presidency. Here was somebody who saw the people that felt forgotten by their party. He heard them when others turned a deaf ear. He said the things they wanted to hear and promised to supply all the things they thought they wanted. But unlike everyone else seeking their votes, Donald Trump didn’t speak down to them. He spoke in a way they understood without using political correctness or Washington doublespeak.

And the people ate it up.

Now he’s the president. The man who praised the leadership styles of Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Saddam Hussein will now get a chance to lead. The man who personally insulted his political rivals, vilified immigrants, ridiculed vets, mocked women, and endorsed violence against his political opponents will try to unify America. The man who couldn’t be bothered to prepare for presidential debates, who has bankrupted 4 businesses, who has lied to and cheated his business partners, bankers, and employees, will oversee the most complex and most powerful economic power in the world. The man who doesn’t know what nuclear triad means, who has suggested that North Korea and Japan should have nuclear weapons, and who believes that Crimea already belongs to Russia will now be commander in chief. Since World War II, every military engagement authorized by Congress has been under the leadership of a Republican president. The Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan, and the Iraq war were all initiated by Republican presidents. That even includes the Lebanon crisis of 1958 and the multinational force in Lebanon in 1983. Donald Trump has made it clear that he is willing to start fights with anyone who he feels has insulted him, and he has shown no ability to control his emotions whenever he has been attacked. And now he, and he alone, has access to the nuclear codes.

This scares me so much I can barely breathe.

This morning I woke up with no idea how I was going to face my children for the next four years. How do I teach them that bullying is bad when a bully has won the White House? How can I expect them to study and learn, to use facts and figures to back up their arguments, when making up facts, spouting lies, and glorifying unpreparedness can win you the presidency? How can I expect them to be nice, to respect the thoughts and feelings of others, when they can just point to our new president and say, “He doesn’t so why should I?”

I honestly don’t know what I’ll say, I just hope I won’t burst out in tears.

So, to those who now live with me in Trumpland, I urge you to be prepared. Be prepared to see more hate crimes and violence against minorities on your TVs, because our next president has endorsed and encouraged such behavior. Be prepared for more earthquakes in Oklahoma, a neutered EPA, and fewer and smaller protected national parks, because our next president has made it clear that conservation of the environment doesn’t matter. Be prepared for the rights of the LGBT community, minorities, and women to be set back dozens of years, because our next president has been consistent in his degradation of them throughout his candidacy. Be prepared for our international allies to distance themselves from us, and for the countries we currently vilify to become our new best friends, because our next president has shown no understanding of the intricacies of international politics. Be prepared for economic disparity greater than we’ve seen in recent memory, because our next president believes losing money or bankrupting a business is perfectly acceptable as long as his own finances remain safe. And America, be prepared for war, because our next president has made it very clear that his idea of diplomacy is to bully, insult, and frighten his opponents.

Be prepared, America. The monster we thought we defeated has stepped back out into the light, but this time, instead of fighting it we’ve greeted it with open arms.