During his campaign, and even after the election, there was at least some validity to the idea that 45 had unearthed all the underlying problems in this country that before, the nation seemed unwilling to face head-on. Institutionalized racism, sexism, sexual assault, this country’s deeply flawed immigration and refugee system, the fact that there are still honest-to-God nazis in America in 2018… The list goes on.
These were all issues that certainly existed during President Obama’s tenure, they just weren’t under the national spotlight. White supremacists and nazis didn’t feel emboldened by the president to speak their mind. But now they do, and some will argue this is a good thing. Now this country can face the problems we ran away from during the Obama years.
The problem with this narrative is that it isn’t all talk anymore. It seemed at first that Trump wasn’t going to do much of anything during his administration except languish in the White House and angrily tweet about how Saturday Night Live is a garbage show. And while he has done a lot of that, his administration, even if not always him directly, has caused serious damage. For refugees, immigrants, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, what the Trump administration represents and does is a direct attack on their safety and freedom. The idea that the nation needed Trump comes from a place of privilege and isn’t really valid anymore. Here is just a snippet of the lasting damage the current administration has caused:
- Passed a travel ban that was upheld 5-4 by the Supreme Court, suspending visas to applicants from the Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. North Korea and Venezuela are also included in the ban. The number of people affected by the ban is upwards of 135 million, according to the New York Times.
- Withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, which has been signed by 195 nations. Had the U.S. stayed in the accord, the country would be agreeing to cut greenhouse emissions by more than 20% by 2025 and spend $3 billion in aid for countries by 2020.
- Separating families at the border. According to Vox, between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018, more than 2,700 were separated from their families. And though Trump has signed an executive order supposedly ending family separation, the damage has been done. Under the new executive order, people will be prosecuted for crossing the border illegally without being turned over to the Department of Justice, thus allowing families to stay together. It remains unclear how exactly the families who have been separated are being reunited.
- Trump’s record with the LGBTQ community is no better. He has continually tried to ban trans people from serving in the military. He ended the federal advisory council on HIV/AIDS by firing all the remaining members. His VP has a known record of anti-LGBTQ policies. The administration did not acknowledge Pride month. LGBTQ people will not be acknowledged as LGBTQ in the 2020 census.
- Nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which tips the balance to the right, and will have a lasting effect on decisions that come even past this administration. The resignation of Justice Kennedy opens the door for the court to swing even further to the right.
- Following Justice Kennedy’s retirement, President Trump nominated conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill his seat. His addition to the Supreme Court would tip the balance to the right, potentially changing precedent for decades to come. Kavanaugh previously dissented from a decision allowing an undocumented immigrant teen to have an abortion.
- The U.S. withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
This is just the beginning of the damage the administration has done, and a sneak-peek of what’s to come. This is not including how Trump has continually undermined America’s reputation on the world stage or refused to condemn the alt-right. He has continually emboldened and validated those who stand for hate and bigotry and shows no signs of stopping. Claiming that the nation actually needed Trump comes from a place of privilege that isn’t shared by the millions who are being directly affected by what this administration says and does.
Also published on Medium.