The first 100 days of a presidency is usually referred to as the honeymoon; with Trump as president the experience has been more like, “Brace yourself, Bridget!”
And yet, it’s been pretty much what I expected: chaos.
People who voted for Trump, or as I like to call them, “half of my friends and family”, voted for him precisely for his ability to disrupt things. As one family member told me, “He’s like throwing a stick of dynamite into Congress. Ha!”
Well, looks like the joke is on all of us.
Key campaign staff are under FBI investigation for potentially colluding with the Russians to swing the election, millions of women across the globe marched the day after his inauguration, he’s rolled back regulations and put climate change deniers in charge of the EPA, his surrogates spew out “alternative facts,” and somehow his press secretary missed the history class that mentioned Hitler gassed 6 million Jews.
Through his executive orders, personnel choices and Tweets he has made it abundantly clear that his new America is tied to white nationalists.
The selection of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist is the biggest evidence of this direction. Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, home of the alt-right (which is fancy for “white nationalist”) helped to bring racist misogynists like Milo Yiannopolis mainstream and emboldened people like former KKK leader David Duke and neo-Nazi Richard Spencer to praise Trump’s rhetoric openly.
Even though Trump said he disavows these groups, his words, deeds and sentiments seem to resonate with them, which is pretty telling in and of itself. When was the last time you remember the KKK holding a parade for a president? Or have you ever seen a video of Nazis salute any American president like they did when they said, “Heil Trump“?
Jeff Sessions, considered too racially biased to be a federal judge in 1986 (!) is now the attorney general. During the first 100 days he promised the US Justice Department would no longer seek to reform systemic police abuses (not even in Ferguson and Baltimore,) wanted to freeze federal funds to “sanctuary cities,” and had to officially recuse himself from any hearings on Russia-Trump investigations because he…ahem…forgot to mention his two (2) meetings with the Russian ambassador prior to the election. Hmm.
Happily, Trump’s Muslim ban was ruled unconstitutional (twice) but not without first causing mass confusion and protests at international airports. Hate crimes are on the rise and increased bullying at schools across the country is referred to as “The Trump Effect”.
After bragging how easy it would be to repeal and replace healthcare for almost a decade, and with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, the guy who loves the art of the deal couldn’t pull it off. The AHCA died before it was even voted on, so his administration didn’t win, but the fortunately the American people did, because that plan would have been a total disaster (to coin his phrase) leaving 24 million without health coverage and essential benefits.
While not very good at getting his legislation passed, Trump is pretty good at taking away women’s rights. One of his first executive orders was to instill the “gag rule” which banned funding for international family planning charities who provide or “promote” abortions. Yes, even talking about abortion as one of several options for pregnant women is forbidden. He signed this surrounded by a room full of white men.
And what better way to celebrate Sexual Assault Awareness Month than to defend former FOX anchor Bill O’Reilly, who paid $13 million to settle sexually inappropriate behavior claims by five women, by telling the New York Times “I think he shouldn’t have settled; personally I think he shouldn’t have settled because you should have taken it all the way. I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.” But is his support a surprise to anyone who watched the Access Hollywood tape, which was the very definition of sexual assault?
Trump’s foreign policy is a giant cluster of whatever he’s feeling at the moment: NATO is obsolete. No wait! It’s not anymore. China is a currency manipulator. Oops! My bad. They’re not. I’m solidly against NAFTA. Unless I’m talking to the leaders of Canada and Mexico. Then I’m totally cool with it. Plus, Mexico is going to pay for that wall! Except, they’re not, so American taxpayers will or else We Will Shut Down This Government! Ok, you called my bluff. Did I mention we dropped the mother of all bombs in Afghanistan and got involved in the Syrian civil war after I said I wouldn’t and now we might go to war with North Korea?
His lack of knowledge of a plethora of issues and seeming willingness to drive a hard bargain and then instantly back down only weakens us as a nation.
In the latest interview with Reuters, Trump said, “I thought it would be easier…I miss my old life.” This follows his bewildered discoveries that “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” and that dealing with North Korea was “not so easy.”
Remember that old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it”? Trump is beginning to understand it and it can only be a matter of time before the people who put their faith in him to bring back manufacturing jobs and the good old days will get buyer’s remorse too.
But one positive side effect of Trump’s 100 days is that he awakened a sleeping giant: Progressives, women, immigrants, people of color, LBGTQ and religious minorities are energized like never before.
First we marched, now an unprecedented 13,000 women are running for office across the country. And here, in deep red Texas, our Marchers have identified over 70 progressive candidates, 45 of them women! (You can see a candidate list here: North Texas, Central Texas, Gulf Coast or click on the map below).
Suddenly people have realized that silence is no longer an option. Patriotism requires being an everyday activist, even when it’s hard. From students to retirees, people are calling their reps, marching for science, donating to support free speech and showing up at town halls to hold elected officials accountable.
Another positive thing that Trump has proven, is that anyone can beat the odds. Even he did think he would win! (Remember, “The election is rigged”?) So when we at March On! Texas hear that our state is solidly conservative and will be forever, we know that’s not true.
We believe that we can turn Texas blue and it begins with you. Early voting is now open and the official election date is May 6th. So if we truly want to limit the number of days that Trump and his cronies are in power, we must flex our power by voting.
March on y’all!