By Rosetta Miller Perry
In a little over a week, the Donald Trump presidency has already revealed itself as one that is going to be reactionary, racist, and bigoted in its domestic and foreign policy. One of the six executive orders Trump issued temporarily restricted entry to the United States from seven nations where Muslims are the majority, and also indefinitely banned Syrian refugees from crossing into the United States.
It didn’t take even 24 hours before this idiotic policy began having negative impact worldwide. Refugees and immigrants who had already been vetted and approved to enter the nation now found themselves stranded and detained at airports, their fates unknown. There were a dozen people alone at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport whose families and friends had to watch as police put them in handcuffs and led them away.
Among the “dangerous” people detained were Hameed Khalid Darweesh. He’s an interpreter who has worked with the United States government over a decade, and with the administrations of both the second President Bush and President Obama. But his “crime” was being from Iraq. Fortunately, both Darweesh and another detainee from Iraq were later released according to NBC News. There were also two other detainees released and reunited from their families in Philadelphia.
However that leaves many others still in limbo. Fortunately, now the judiciary has weighted in on this, with federal judges in three different states (New York, Massachusetts, Virginia) temporarily preventing the deportation of anyone entering the country with a valid visa and also those legally authorized to enter the country.
Of course the Trump administration response to this is typical: attempts at bullying and ignoring public response. A senior White House official on Sunday claimed that Trump had the right and constitutional power to enact the order, saying that the decisions of these judges changed nothing.
A host of people from New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to Nashville Mayor Megan Barry have made their disagreement with these new policies public. But the Trump response is that he is the president and he could do whatever he chooses. He’s already ignoring the “Emoluments Clause” of the Constitution, saying that as the president he is exempt from it. That’s despite the fact that is clearly says in the Constitution that NO person is exempt from this clause.
“Emolument” means compensation for labor or services. And the clause says that “no person holding any office of profit or trust” shall “accept of any present, emolument, office or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign state” unless Congress consents. As a businessman with several firms directly in business with foreign nations, Trump is clearly in open violation of this clause.
He’s also among other things trying to silence the news media, openly contemptuous of anyone who disagrees with him, and is threatening to send in federal troops to handle the policing problems of Chicago. That’s not out of any concern for the majority Black population of that city, but part of his continuing need to try and control everyone and everything. So many of his actions and much of his rhetoric resemble at best those of a bully and at worse those of a dictator.
But there’s a lot of blame to go around for this person now being in office. A big chunk goes to the white minority (and it was a minority because Hillary Clinton captured the popular vote) that somehow saw a billionaire businessman who made his money catering to the moneyed classes building golf courses and casinos would somehow care about the interests of working and poor people. They bought into the “outsider” rhetoric even though Trump has been a noted insider his entire career. They somehow found it an asset that a man with zero political experience at any level, someone who’d never served in the armed forces or even been a city mayor, was somehow qualified to hold the highest office in the land.
They also ignored his embrace of hardcore white racist and supremacist elements, his ugly track record and open admissions of sexual harassment, his past bigoted statements about President Obama, and a very checkered business past that included numerous allegations of unpaid workers, busted contracts and failed ventures. All they saw was a white man mouthing coded rhetoric about “making America great” again, and someone who would put all those people of color back in their place.
Some blame also has to go to those on the left, and some Blacks and Latinos in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (to cite just three states) who chose to stay home and not vote, or who opted to waste votes on Jill Stein or whoever else they thought was a symbolic protest choice. That decision has helped put in office someone who’s aiming to eliminate healthcare protection for thousands who previously didn’t have it, gut social security, has appointed the whitest Cabinet since the late ‘90s and has as a key adviser someone who last job was editing the most racist publication in the nation.
The pseudo-radicals who thought mocking Clinton was so great can now be proud of what they’ve put in power. They thought Obama didn’t do enough for Black people and progressive causes, but he didn’t select a racist to be Attorney General. He may have enforced deportation policies rigorously, but he didn’t set up a situation so shameful and vague that even the National Basketball Association is concerned about some of its players being pulled off airplanes and detained at airports.
Donald Trump is proving even more of a egotistical, thin-skinned, bigoted and borderline racist figure as president than he did as a candidate. Anyone who didn’t do everything in their power to prevent him from winning can only look at themselves in the mirror and acknowledge their part of the blame. Meanwhile, he’s turning America into not only a laughing stock, but an embarrassment on the world stage.