Donald Trump’s first seven days in office began by delivering on the worst of his campaign promises, and eventually, on human nature.
The week would end with the White House intentionally removing any mention of the Jews from its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement. On the same day, President Trump signed an executive order which delivered on the campaign promise of a Muslim ban.
Trump began his first full day as POTUS with a speech at the CIA. Rather than mend the fences after comparing the employees of our nation’s intelligence agencies to Nazis, Trump spoke about the one issue he is passionate about… himself.
With the exception of a handful of vague statements supporting the agency, Trump would spend the majority of his roughly fifteen-minute speech attacking the media, defending his inauguration crowd size and bragging about how many times he was on the cover of Time magazine. Trump committed his public act of masturbation in front of the CIA’s Memorial Wall, which honors the 117 CIA members who lost their lives in service of the country.
Citing audience reaction, Trump himself has defended his speech on Twitter. It would be later reported that Trump brought in “about 40” paid supporters to support his speech with applause and laughs.
This is far from the first time Trump has brought in his own audience. Known as a claque, Trump has used his supporters as trained audience members multiple times.
It was impossible to not notice the odd round of applause Trump would receive throughout his first news conference as president-elect.
During his Monday morning press conference, White House press secretary Sean Spicer would confirm “maybe 10 people” in the CIA speech audience were Trump supporters. If you caught Spicer’s Saturday afternoon presser, you would know Spicer can’t count for shit.
At no point in previously recorded history has the inauguration of a first term U.S. President launched an international protest movement. Donald Trump can add that gem to his list of accomplishments.
The Women’s March would span all seven continents, supporting equality while protesting hate and Trump’s damaging policy proposals. The White House would respond… by ignoring them.
Sean Spicer’s first unofficial press conference would focus exclusively on the crowd size of Trump’s inauguration.
Embarrassingly sandwiched between two enlarged images of the National Mall from Friday’s inauguration, Spicer would claim the event had the “largest audience” of any previous inauguration. This would be just one of many lies Spicer would tell members of the press and the American people during his introduction to the public as press secretary.
Reportedly Trump was so upset, he demanded the acting head of the National Park Service find photos taken of the event that prove the media lied about his inauguration’s low attendance (which trailed President Obama’s 2009 and 2013 inaugurations).
Although some refer to Spicer’s Saturday presser as a distraction, it’s important to recognize it as tarnishing the credibility of the new White House on the first full day of the new administration.
When not sticking keys in the White House electrical sockets, Trump began signing executive orders which addressed his biggest campaign issues… beginning with the Affordable Care Act.
Trump’s order on President Obama’s landmark healthcare law instructs agencies to enact a loose enforcement on regulations which may produce a financial burden to individuals and insurers.
One thing missing from the equation is a plan to replace Obamacare, which will prove disastrous for the public without one.
According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, 18 million would lose coverage within the first year of repeal.
The bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget concluded a full repeal without replacement would cost $350 billion.
Touting job creation, Trump revived the DakotaXL and Keystone pipelines. Speaking of Keystone, Trump claimed it would create “…A lot of jobs, 28,000 jobs. Great construction jobs.” Trump fails to mention these jobs are temporary. The number of permanent jobs created by the pipeline: 35.
Although America’s wealthy won’t be displaced by construction of the Keystone pipeline, a State Department report found 17% of the pipeline intersects with areas occupied by “low-income or minority populations, including Indian tribes.”
Bar trivia: on the same day Trump revived the Canadian-owned Keystone pipeline, a Canadian pipeline suffered an oil spill in the province of Saskatchewan. 200,000 liters of oil were spilled.
In between signing orders and basking in pre-arranged applause,Trump continues to be obsessed with the election, specifically his loss of the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes.
Reviving a long debunked conspiracy theory, Trump told congressional leaders he would have won the popular vote if 3 million illegal votes had not been cast. I imagine their reaction would be the same if Trump had told them he had been abducted by aliens and probed.
The conspiracy theory originated with VoteStand founder, Gregg Phillips. It comes as no surprise that Phillips’ Twitter account features anti-Obama tweets. In one particular tweet, Phillips identifies who was behind his alleged hacking of the 2016 election systems: Obama’s Department of Homeland Security. Like the 3 million illegally cast votes, Phillips offers zero evidence to back up this claim.
Phillips’ Friday interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo was such a train wreck, Harrison Ford could have escaped from it.
Phillips’ story gained traction once it made its way to Alex Jones’ Infowars, a conspiracy theory site on which Trump has previously appeared as a guest (and where I believe he likely first read the story).
Jones is a wretched dog fuck of a human being, who has given a platform to the ghoulish conspiracy theory that nobody was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. In reality, 26 people lost their lives in the 2012 tragedy. His site has also attacked the grieving families of victims of various tragedies as “crisis actors.”
Trump has since vowed an investigation into the 3 million illegally cast votes, even though he could simply google Snopes and save the taxpayers’ money. Ultimately, the scenario is just another damaging strike against the White House’s credibility the second time this week.
Trump’s southern border wall was his “Freebird” on the campaign trail, and it was inevitable he would make it a priority on week one.
Although Trump signed an executive order for the construction of the border wall, payment for the wall still requires approval from Congress.
Since the campaign, Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto has made it clear Mexico will not pay for the wall… which leaves it to the American taxpayers.
What makes Trump’s proposal frustratingly stupid is that Mexican immigration is currently a net loss.
With Mexico understandably refusing to foot Trump’s bill, the administration has floated the idea of imposing a 20% import tariff on Mexico. Of course, every company will make that money back by raising prices on the consumer. Again, the American consumer is stuck paying for the wall. I thought Trump was supposed to be a good businessman?
On Friday, Trump would add a blemish to America’s history when he signed in an executive order blocking entry for all refugees for 120 days (Syrian refugees are blocked indefinitely) and barring entry to travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The countries barred are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. There have been zero fatal terror attacks carried out on U.S. soil by citizens of these countries.
Missing from the list: Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. These are the countries the nineteen 9/11 hijackers came from. They’re also countries Donald Trump has business dealings with.
So, Trump can drop the bullshit talking point this is to prevent terror attacks. This is nothing more than a xenophobic policy which can be argued violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The order reads:
“…the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”
In an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, Trump verified this was to prioritize Christian refugees over Muslims:
“If you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very, very tough to get into the United States. If you were a Muslim, you could come in, if you were a Christian, it was impossible.”
Citing the Pew Research Center, The New York Times’ Michael D. Shear and Helene Cooper write the U.S. overall has accepted 37,521 Christian refugees compared to 38,901 Muslim refugees for the 2016 fiscal year.
The reality is, Trump’s executive order would not have prevented the 9/11 attacks, Boston Marathon bombing, the Pulse nightclub shooting or the San Bernardino shooting.
What it has prevented is Green Card holders and United States permanent residents from coming home.
In Virginia, a five-year old American citizen from Maryland was detained for over 4 hours at Dulles International Airport.
Award-winning scientist for her work in genomics, Samira Asgari, was stopped from boarding her flight from Frankfurt to begin work at her new lab in Boston due to the executive order.
Iraqi members of the Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program are being detained at airports. Members of this program assisted our troops overseas as translators or interpreters.
“They better make a damn exception, because we are here because of them,” former Marine sergeant Andrew Biggio told the Miami Herald. “You want to talk about saving American lives from terrorists – these interpreters did that, they saved a lot of our lives.”
Most worrisome is that the Trump administration has slammed the door shut on Syrians fleeing civil war and terrorism. This isn’t the first time the U.S. has done this.
In 1938, our nation rejected 935 Jewish refugees fleeing the Third Reich when they arrived on the ship, the St. Louis. Some of the passengers were accepted by Great Britain. The rest were taken in by Belgium, France and the Netherlands. All three countries were eventually invaded by the Nazis.
Where is the All Lives Matter crowd right now?
What has been incredible in the last 48 hours are the Americans who have come out en masse, calling for the release of wrongly detained travelers and continue to protest this xenophobic order. The people who have contributed to the ACLU’s record shattering $19.4 million donations since Saturday. Immigration lawyers who have offered their assistance pro bono. The people who have opened their doors to refugees, like Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky, who has offered free housing. THIS is America.
On Saturday night, U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly blocked a portion of Trump’s executive order on the grounds it likely violated the Constitution. Specifically, that the order deprived people of due process and equal protection. This ruling prohibited the removal of travelers from the seven barred countries who arrived in U.S. airports after Trump signed the order.
Let’s just get this one out of the way right now. Trump mistakenly thought he had the balls of an elephant rather than a titmouse when he stated his Muslim ban is “similar” to when President Obama “banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months.” Except, President Obama never issued a ban on Iraqi visas.
The one thing Trump’s Muslim ban guarantees: it will be a powerful and often used recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and other terror groups.
This is only day nine of Trump’s presidency. Still feeling good about voting “your conscience” in November?
Contrary to conservative media, President Obama never did an ‘apology tour.’ Donald Trump is ensuring the next president will.