The weight of the moment finally hit last week when Americans were detained at airports across the country. Donald Trump is president, and it might be the worst mistake the country has ever made.
President Donald Trump had just signed another executive order and immediately the reality of his actions were seen. The executive order barred refugees from coming into the country from seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Never mind the fact that, according to the Wall Street Journal, only 11 of the 180 people charged with jihadist-terrorism related crimes since Sept. 11, 2001 were from the countries listed. Forget that the list also omits countries where Trump’s business holds stakes. This was meant to strengthen America and keep the country safe, according to Trump.
And yet, besides the gaping holes in the policy, refugees were not the only ones affected.
Students, professors, doctors, U.S. government workers and any with visas or green cards were all held in airports Friday and Saturday. Many were legally Americans with families waiting inside American borders wondering when they were coming home.
Video footage rolled in. First of the men and women being stopped from entering their own country due to their nationality or religion (Trump’s order said Christians will be given priority). Then of the protesters, Americans fighting for both Americans and those hoping to become one. Then of lawyers working pro bono to fight the order.
Despite the protests, the White House has shown no signs of shifting course. As evidenced by the rest of the week’s actions, logic has no foothold in the Trump White House which can now be seen as just another Trump hotel.
In his first week as president, Trump began the rollback of universal healthcare. He pushed the construction of an oil pipeline that has been opposed for the past year by Americans and Native Americans whose land will be affected by the pipeline. He halted federal hiring and muted public communications by federal agencies, primarily national parks and environmental agencies. His administration continued its demonization of the media with members of his team first telling media to only report positive things and then telling media organizations to “keep its mouth shut.”
Then came international issues. Trump pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have helped relations with China had his administration not continued to antagonize the country. The result? An official from the Chinese National Defense Mobilization Department writing: “A war ‘within the president’s term’ or ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, they are becoming a practical reality.”
Then came Mexico. Trump signed another order to fast-track construction of a wall along America’s southern border with Mexico. During the campaign, Trump promised to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. Mexico’s president, however, disagrees.
“I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us,” said Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. “Mexico does not believe in walls...I’ve said time and again Mexico won’t pay for any wall.”
Nieto then canceled his meeting with Trump, and Trump reversed course by saying Mexico will pay for the wall via a 20 percent tariff on imports. Basically, Americans will pay for the wall by spending more on goods from Mexico.
It’s only been one week, and Trump has banned Muslims, begun talks of building a wall, disrupted trade deals and has begun the withdrawal of universal healthcare. He has divided the country and villainized the media. He has removed those with political experience from the White House and replaced them with billionaires and alt-right neo-nationalists.
The question now to Trump supporters is, “How do you defend these actions?”
So far, by deflection.
Conservatives asked about Trump’s breaches of media or human rights point to other countries who do similar things or past presidents who enacted similar reform.
Even past opponents of Trump’s ideas are no longer speaking out.
Last year, his vice president Mike Pence said, “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” He stood by smiling as Trump signed the latest executive order.
The problem is America is not like other countries. It is supposed to champion open borders and a willingness to learn from mistakes. How far is America away from that currently? Well, Berlin’s mayor is now telling America what a bad idea a wall is while America’s president is banning refugees on National Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It has only been one week, and America has gone from international beacon of ethics, morals and hope to an isolationist bully. All respect is fading, and according to the Economic Intelligence Unit, America is now considered a “flawed democracy” due to years of overarching bureaucracy that has led to the reins being taken by someone unfit to steer the country.
Like most populist leaders, Trump’s greatest strength lies with his supporters.
When Trump was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, it was the lack of outrage from his supporters that made it a non-issue come election time.
When he spoke of banning Muslims and building a wall, his supporters were either highly in favor of “keeping America safe” or did not think their beloved leader would actually follow through on such villainous, discriminatory plots.
When Trump won the election, his supporters overlooked his lack of political experience and penchant for word vomit by telling the rest of Americans to give him a chance. After all who knows? He might be a great president, right?
Wrong. One week down, 207 left to go. •